Poland drops Holocaust speech case against journalist

Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland (February 23, 2021) — Prosecutors in Poland say they have found no breach of law in an article about the role of Poles in the Holocaust and have dropped the case against the journalist who wrote it for a left-wing newspaper in October.

The police questioned Katarzyna Markusz this month after a complaint that her article, "Polish participation in the Holocaust" in the Krytyka Polityczna daily, insulted the Polish nation. Anyone found guilty of breaching that law can face up to three years in prison.

Critics took issue with a sentence that asked if Polish authorities will ever admit that there was widespread aversion to Jews before World War II and that "Polish participation in the Holocaust was a fact of history."

A spokeswoman for prosecutors in Warsaw said late Monday they found no breach of law in the text and discontinued the case.

Markusz told The Associated Press Tuesday that it was the "only logical decision" that could have been taken, but added that the case should not have been opened at all.

She said she only stated known facts.

Poland's conservative authorities don't deny that some Poles harmed Jews during the Holocaust, but they believe the focus on Polish wrongdoing obscures the fact that most of these killings occurred under the orders and terror of German Nazis who brutally occupied Poland during World War II.

Some 3 million of Poland's 3.3 million Jews were murdered during the war, as well as more than 2 million Christian Poles. The Germans punished anybody helping Jews with instant execution, yet thousands of Poles have been recognized by Israel for taking the risk to save Jews.

In 2018, the right-wing government tried to make it a crime to falsely blame the Polish nation for Holocaust crimes, but the law was withdrawn after it sparked a diplomatic dispute with Israel.

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