Never have George Santayana’s immortal words been more meaningful than they are today following Poland’s decision to make it state policy that they had nothing to do with the deaths of 6 million innocent Jews during the Holocaust.
“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to relive it,” wrote Santayana, with a line that will resonate throughout the ages.
Poland was a victim of Nazi oppression during the Second World War. But no nation in the history of the world was more virulently anti-Semitic throughout the centuries leading up to it and after it than the Poles, and they showed their colors during the Second World War and in the years immediately following it.
The Nazis hated the Poles almost as much as they hated the Jews, and communists, midgets, priests, Catholics, homosexuals and the handicapped.
The Nazis killed about 2 million Poles, a testament to their hatred for the Poles.
However, the Nazis in their immense desire to finish off Jewish life in Europe used Poland as the center of the death camp machinery that almost succeeded in doing just that.
They used Poland because they understood what gleeful slaughterers of Jews the Poles would be.
By building nearly all the death camps in Poland, and having a Polish workforce work them, they achieved two things — the death of millions of Jews and the use of Poles who always hated Jews to carry out their edict.
And so the Poles did this because they had to or they were put in the death chambers in the death camps.
The Poles obeyed the Nazis with enthusiastic zeal.
When the war was over, and the pathetic few Jews that remained in Poland tried to recover their lives, the Poles heaped upon them some of the worst pogroms in Polish history.
Jews trying to recover their possessions or their homes were slaughtered in post-war Poland.
What must be kept in mind always is that pre-war Poland had a Jewish population of about 3 million.
Post war Poland’s Jewish population was about 6,000.
That’s quite a thing for a people now trying to change history so it can be erased and revised.
On February 1, Poland’s Senate passed a law banning people from linking the Polish state to the Holocaust.
That’s quite piece of legislation the Polish Senate passed.
They are trying to legislate memory as was written in the Irish Independent this week.
“The greatest crisis of our age is not the threat of nuclear weapons or even climate change – terrifying as they both are — but the steady retreat from rationality, the idea that truth is what the powerful legislate it to be; it is felt in the repetition of lies that are believed and regurgitated by partisan masses, in the contempt for the enlightenment values of rational inquiry and discourse,” writes Fergal Keane in the Sunday Times.
“Throughout history, humankind has shown an exceptional ability to create necessary fictions that bolster the origin myths of nations and peoples. Despite all the suffering caused by this, we have not learned yet that in ignoring the darker claims of the past, we risk no end of trouble. Little wonder that intolerance according to race, religion and creed are on the rise everywhere,” he wrote.