The US-based Ruderman Family Foundation has launched a provocative video campaign against the new controversial Polish “death camps law,” drawing fire within hours of its release with the statement “Polish Holocaust.”
“I’m going to go to jail for what I’m about to do,” a young man says in the introduction to the video. “I wonder if they got beer in a Polish jail,” another muses. “No Polish jail can scare me today,” an elderly man says.
The participants in the video then all proceed to say the words “Polish Holocaust.”
“After 3.5 million Jews were murdered in Poland, including hundreds of thousands of kids, the Polish have approved a new law,” they continue. “So listen Polish people, what happened in the Holocaust was enough. Repeal this disgraceful law now. Jews will never again be silenced.”
The campaign calls on the US to suspend all ties with Poland “in the name of six million Jews” and launches a petition under the title: “I am also in favor of suspending relations with Poland until the ‘Polish Holocaust-denial law’ is repealed!”
The new law bans the term “Polish death camps” and criminalizes talk of Polish complicity in Nazi crimes, threatening “a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years” for anyone who “accuses, publicly and against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich.”
Jonny Daniels, a prominent Jewish figure in Poland and founder of Holocaust remembrance organization From the Depths, slammed the campaign’s use of the words “Polish Holocaust.”
“I was shocked as anyone to see this video coming out of the US,” he said. “I think clearly what we see here is that there is an absolute lack of understanding and misrepresentation for what truly is happening here.”
“Regardless of whether one agrees with the bill or not, the terminology ‘Polish Holocaust’ is entirely unacceptable,” he said. “The Holocaust was perpetrated by the German Nazis. We have to remember that and we have to scream that and shout that at the top of our voices.... To blame Poland for the Holocaust is something we cannot do. This whitewashes history and this takes away the crimes of the actual perpetrators, the German Nazis.”
JCC Krakow executive director Jonathan Ornstein called on the Ruderman Family Foundation to immediately remove the video.
“Emotions are running high, and harmful, inaccurate comments from various sides have been published, but this is indefensible.... The term ‘Polish Holocaust’ is not accepted by any reasonable person, whether Jewish, Polish, Israeli or German,” he said. “The answer to the ‘Polish Holocaust Bill,’ which I oppose, is not inflammatory, hateful rhetoric such as this but, rather, discussion and dialogue based on facts.”