Antisemitic Images, Cartoons, Flood Polish Press as Holocaust Law Dispute Festers
Antisemitic images and cartoons continue to flood the Polish press, as the country’s right-wing nationalist media becomes increasingly angry with international opposition to new legislation that makes any discussion of Polish collusion with the Nazi occupation during World War II a criminal offense.
On Monday, the cover of Do Rzeczy — one of the Poland’s biggest and most influential news weeklies — showed the face of a cherubic Polish child wrapped in the colors of the national flag. The accompanying headline read, “Attack on Poland: How to stop this brutal wave?” with a Star of David superimposed over the word “Attack.”
A cartoon in the same magazine by artist Cezary Krysztopa openly invoked alleged Jewish responsibility for the massacres and deportations of Polish citizens by Soviet forces.
The cartoon showed a slumped figure wearing an armband in Polish national colors about to be executed by both a Nazi and a Soviet officer. However, the red star worn by the Russian figure is shaped as a Jewish Star of David, rather than the traditional, 5-pointed communist symbol.
Another ultranationalist magazine, Najwyższy Czas, descended into medieval antisemitism with a cartoon featuring a hook-nosed Jewish figure wearing sidelocks and a kippah.
Typing the phrase “Polish Death Camps” onto a laptop computer, the figure says, “When it’s repeated a thousand times, it becomes true.” A coffee mug alongside him substitutes the “s” in “Holocaust” for a dollar sign.
Long-held Polish objections to historically inaccurate phrases like “Polish Death Camp” provided the spur for the recent legislation — though the majority of Jewish institutions, including the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel, have vocally supported Polish efforts to clarify that Auschwitz and other death camps were built and operated by the Germans.
Meanwhile, a senior Polish education official has strongly criticized the current museum at Auschwitz, declaring that only government-licensed guides should be permitted to work at the site.
On Sunday, Barbara Nowak, the Polish government’s chief education inspector in the Krakow region, slammed the museum for allegedly emphasizing the “foreign, not the Polish narrative.” Nowak urged that only guides approved by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) — which has been empowered by the new legislation to monitor potential violators — should be able to guide visitors to the slave labor and death complex where 960,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis.