Tablet vs. Polish Nationalism

In Tablet, the Tribe is wringing its hands over newfound strains of Polish Nationalism, namely, in its treatment of Jan Gross, a Jewish Pole currently living in the U.S. as a professor at Princeton:

We Poles had our presidential race last year. In a televised debate—the most important debate of the race—the two main candidates asked each other questions. The first round of these questions, posed by candidate Andrzej Duda, did not deal with the state of the Polish economy, nor relations with Ukraine and Russia. It had to do instead with a crime committed over 70 years ago in Jedwabne, a village in northeastern Poland where Polish Catholics incinerated their Jewish neighbors. This event was uncovered decades later by Polish-American historian Jan Gross, now a professor at Princeton. Duda admonished his opponent, then-incumbent President Bronisław Komorowski, for allowing Poles to be “wrongfully accused by others for participating in the Holocaust.” He asked why the president failed to defend the good name of Poland.

The election was won by Andrzej Duda, the candidate who resolutely rejected the painful truth of Jedwabne. The new president then proclaimed a “new historical policy strategy,” which would enhance the perception of Poland in the world. That policy is already in place. And an important component of it is a campaign against Jan Gross. In January, President Duda went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an opinion on the question of rescinding Gross’ Polish Order of Merit. According to his spokesman, the offices of the president had been inundated with letters bearing precisely this request from outraged citizens. The president could not simply ignore—or even silence—those voices…

When Jan Gross was rebuked for never writing about the aid provided to Jews by Poles, he explained that he himself was the fruit of such aid, but what interested him was what could have happened to make Poles who did save Jews during the Holocaust afraid to talk about it after the war…

Gross’ revelation of the crime in Jedwabne led to a revolution in Polish thought on Polish-Jewish relations. Poland stood at the forefront of European nations reckoning with their wartime past. Yet now a kind of counterrevolution has occurred, putting an end, as the current regime claims, to the “pedagogy of shame.” Except that this is not an invention of the new authorities. The foundations for it had already been laid. The counterrevolution has been going on in Poland for a good few years. The referral of the case against Gross to the prosecution took place under the former government (the rightwing candidate became president in August of 2015, and the rightwing government came into power in November of the same year).

All is not lost, however. In Poland, as in the West, Holocaust Inc™ has successfully set up shop, with a museum everywhere you look, ensuring that Poles will forever be harangued:

Some elements of the revolution, as always happens in History, did get absorbed. The crime in Jedwabne, like the pogrom in Kielce in 1946, make appearances in the main exhibit in the newly opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The Polish Center for Holocaust Research, a prominent center of study, does great work, publishes a great journal and great books. But what is difficult and painful in Polish-Jewish history has been relegated to the margins of public debate. Now is the time to talk about how much good Poles have done for Jews—that’s what historians are doing, and the government, and state institutions, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the media.

On a sidenote: With ‘Diversity’ a near god-like endpoint for Jewish liberals, how does that square with Tablet’s Masthead?

Editor-in-chief: Alana Newhouse
Executive editor: Wayne Hoffman
Literary editor: David Samuels
Deputy editor: Stephanie Butnick
Editor at large: Mark Oppenheimer
Senior editors: Matthew Fishbane, Sara Ivry
Senior writers: Liel Leibovitz, Yair Rosenberg
Staff editor: Jonathan Zalman
Executive producer, audio: Julie Subrin
Director of business development: Gabriel Sanders
Director of audience development: Elissa Goldstein
Art director: Esther Werdiger
Copy editor: Sian Gibby
Contributing writer: Marjorie Ingall
Editorial interns: Rose Kaplan, Jordana Narin
Audio consultant: Raquel Wildes

Contributing editors: Elisa Albert, Gal Beckerman, Mayim Bialik, Emily Botein, Joseph Braude, Menachem Butler, Robin Cembalest, Douglas Century, Adam Chandler, Joshua Cohen, Jeremy Dauber, Vanessa Davis, Blake Eskin, Alexander Gelfand, Rebecca Goldstein, Hadara Graubart, Jesse Green, Ben Greenman, Marit Haahr, Lynn Harris, Dara Horn, Marjorie Ingall, Ben Judah, Rodger Kamenetz, David Kaufmann, Ari Kelman, Adam Kirsch, Stuart Klawans, Melvin Konner, Elena Lappin, Adam Lebor, David Lehman, Hugh Levinson, Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Josh Lambert, Seth Lipsky, Deborah Lipstadt, Eryn Loeb, MaNishtana, Jonathan Mahler, David Margolick, Daphne Merkin, David Mikics, Joan Nathan, Victor Navasky, Sherwin Nuland, Mark Oppenheimer, Willa Paskin, Robert Pinsky, Eddy Portnoy, Nessa Rapaport, Lauren Redniss, Jody Rosen, Jeannie Rosenfeld, Gabriel Sanders, Jonathan Sarna, Esther Schor, Gary Shteyngart, Rachel Shukert, Ilan Stavans, Mimi Sheraton, Joseph Telushkin, Nathan Thrall, Michael Weiss, Leon Wieseltier, Jonathan Wilson, Ruth Wisse, Wesley Yang.

I cracked up at the last name. There’s a Yang in there! See, they are diverse!

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