Yet more on “Polish death camps”

In contradiction to what I wrote the other day, I have discovered (thanks to a reference in the relevant Wikipedia page), that an explicit use of the expression “in Polish death camps” (w polskich obozach śmierci) is found in Zofia Nałkowska‘s 1946 book Medaliony , though a little later in the same section there occurs w obozach Polski (‘in Poland’s camps’), which in the English translation is also rendered as “in Polish camps”.

Zofia Nałkowska (1884–1954) was a prominent figure in post-war Poland, not only as a writer and public intellectual but in politics as well. Several cities in Poland have streets named for her. Will she, then, be posthumously charged with a crime against the reputation of the Polish nation and the Republic of Poland?

And am I a criminal in Poland for citing these references?


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One Response to “Yet more on “Polish death camps””

  1. Szymon Says:

    I think the difference between Nałkowska’s use and current use is that Nałkowska knew very well these camps were Nazi, and that in the context of her story “Polish death camp” means “death camp where Poles were killed”. Whereas now, an alarming number of people believe the death camps were actually run by Poles.

    The bill is obviously awfully written and it probably will not change anything but the media coverage around it shown how many people (especially young Americans and Israelis) do not realise Poland was German-occupied and that these camps are Germany’s awful legacy.

    At some point, your father writes in his memoir that when the supposedly “civilised” German came, he realised the anti-Semitic Poles were not as bad. And I think this is the gist of it.

    As a Pole, I am ashamed by our politicians who try to whitewash history (and, shall I note, the ones who feel the most appalled by Jews accusing Poles of antisemitism, are actually anti-Semites). On the other hand though, I cannot believe that Israeli curriculum actually says that Poles were the worst perpetrators, and that Israeli students visiting Poland are told to never go out of their hotels and to blind the coach windows because otherwise they would be harmed.

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