Poland and the Holocaust – facts and myths

1. Poland was the first and one of the biggest victims of World War II.

2. The extermination camps, in which several million people were murdered, were not Polish. These were German camps in Poland occupied by Nazi Germany. The term “Polish death camps” is contradictory to historical facts and grossly unfair to Poland as a victim of Nazi Germany.

3. The Poles were the first to alert European and American leaders to the Holocaust.

4. Poland never collaborated with Nazi Germany. The largest resistance movement in occupied Europe was created in Poland. Moreover, in occupied Europe, Poland was one of the few countries where helping Jews was punishable by death.

5. Hundreds of thousands of Poles helped Jews survive the war and the Holocaust at the risk of their own lives. Poles make up the largest group among the Righteous Among the Nations, i.e. citizens of various countries who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

6. As was the case in other countries, during the war there were also cases of shameful behaviour towards Jews in occupied Poland, but this was a marginal phenomenon on the scale of Polish society as a whole. During the war, there were also instances of shameful behaviour by Jews in relation to other Jews and Poles.

7. During the war, pogroms of the Jewish people were observed in various European cities, and were often inspired by Nazi Germans. Also, during the war, Polish people, notably the intelligentsia and the political, socio-economic and cultural elites, were executed on a massive scale.

8. In the post-war period, some attempts were made to falsify the history of the Holocaust, including the attitude of the Poles towards the Jews during the war. In order to prevent this falsification and to protect Poland’s reputation worldwide, in January 2018, the Polish Parliament passed an Act to eliminate attributing responsibility for Nazi Germany’s crimes to the Polish state or Polish nation.

9. There are opinions that accusing Poland and Poles of anti-Semitism and complicity in the Holocaust is a deliberate attempt to facilitate the achievement of specific political and financial goals in relation to Poland.

10. In February 2018, prominent German politicians publicly admitted on several occasions that the full responsibility for the Holocaust lies with Germany.

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