Pro-climate demonstrations in Poland


This 10 December 2018 video says about itself:

Thousands Protest at U.N. Climate Summit in Coal-Heavy Poland, Facing Riot Police & Intimidation

This week Democracy Now! is broadcasting from the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland, where the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait have blocked language “welcoming” October’s landmark IPCC climate report that warned of the catastrophic effects of a global temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius, beyond which global crises could unfold at a rapid pace. The four countries rejected using the word “welcome”, insisting that members instead “note” the findings of the widely cited U.N. report. We begin our coverage with voices of some of the thousands of climate activists from around the world who marched in Katowice on Saturday, calling for world leaders to do more to keep rising greenhouse gas emissions in check. We also speak with a member of the European Parliament who confronted undercover Polish officials who were monitoring the protest.

This 10 December 2018 video says about itself:

“Shame On You!” Protesters Interrupt Trump Admin Promoting Coal & Fossil Fuels at U.N. Climate Talks

Just minutes before we began our Monday broadcast, Democracy Now! spoke to protesters at the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland, as they interrupted a Trump administration event promoting coal and other fossil fuels. We speak with Diné climate activist Leona Morgan.

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Polish nazi band’s concerts cancelled


This video from Wales says about itself:

Cardiff venue apologises after booking band accused of being Neo-Nazis

25 May 2018

They described themselves as “the soundtrack to genocide

A popular Cardiff venue has issued an apology after unwittingly booking a band accused of being Neo-Nazis. As BBC News reports, his week saw Polish band Infernal War perform at The Globe on Tuesday. However, the band have been accused of having a “sick fascination with Nazi atrocities”. Their remaining UK tour dates have been cancelled. “Unfortunately it’s come to our attention that Infernal War, a touring support act on the Marduk show at The Globe earlier this week, are alleged to have links to, or share neo-Nazi and fascist beliefs”, said a spokesman from The Globe. “As a venue we pride ourselves on creating a safe space for artists.”

Wales: Cardiff venue apologises for ‘neo-Nazi’ Infernal War gig: here.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Concert venues cancel performances by Polish neo-Nazi band

Pop music venues 013 in Tilburg and P60 in Amstelveen have canceled performances by the Polish black metal band Infernal War. According to the venues, they were informed yesterday about statements by the band that they can not support. Infernal War calls their music “the soundtrack of genocide” and is said to have a fascination for the Nazis’ crimes.

The group was initially called Quintus and later renamed Infernal SS, a clear reference to the SS, the nazi elite units. The lead singer has the stage name Herr Warcrimer and one of the guitarists is called Zyklon, a reference to the gas zyklon B that was used in the gas chambers. The promotional shirt says “Pure Elite Aryan Terror”, which refers to the Aryan ideas of the nazis.

The band itself denies the connection with Nazi ideas. However, the singer of the band is a Holocaust denier. In an interview he called the Holocaust a myth. Although he said he did not rule out deaths of Jews in the concentration camps, he found the death toll of six million “ridiculous.” …

Infernal War has also been withdrawn from concerts this week in the United Kingdom.

Polish Jewish socialist Szmul Zygielbojm’s suicide in 1943


Szmul Zygielbojm

By David Rosenberg in Britain:

Friday, May 11, 2018

History: ‘Perhaps by my death I shall help break down the indifference’

Seventy-five years ago, Polish Jewish socialist Szmul Zygielbojm killed himself in his London flat in an effort to draw leaders’ attention to the plight of Poland’s Jews. DAVID ROSENBERG tells his story

“MY COMRADES in the Warsaw Ghetto perished with their weapons in their hands … It was not my destiny to die as they did, together with them.

“But I belong to them and in their mass graves … perhaps by my death I shall help to break down the indifference of those who have the possibility now, at the last moment, to save those Polish Jews still alive from certain annihilation…

“I wish that the surviving remnants of the several millions of Polish Jews could live to see, with the Polish population, the liberation that it could know in Poland, in a world of freedom and in the justice of socialism.”

The above quotes are an extract from a handful of suicide letters, left on a table in his London flat 75 years ago, by Szmul Zygielbojm, a Polish Jewish socialist, when he knew that the Ghetto Revolt had been extinguished.

His letters, addressed to allied leaders, the exiled Polish government and close political associates, made clear that his action was a political protest. He addressed one more letter to his landlady apologising for the distress he would cause her.

Zygielbojm, a factory worker at the age of 10, a glovemaker from 12, had been a councillor in Warsaw and Lodz, secretary of the Metal Workers Union, and represented Jewish trade unions in the Federation of all Polish Trade Unions.

When the nazi occupiers had instructed Jewish community leaders to build the ghetto walls, Zygielbojm told a large gathering of Jews not to go voluntarily into the ghetto.

The Gestapo demanded he attend “an interview”. His comrades hid him, obtained false identity papers and sent him to western Europe with a mission to reveal to world leaders the fate of Jews under nazi occupation and demand extraordinary action to rescue them.

From March 1942, until he took his own life, aged 48, in May 1943, Zygielbojm lived alone in London, representing the Jewish Socialist Bund in the exiled Polish National Council.

For 14 months, he bombarded political leaders, diplomats, the press and trade unions with first-hand information from the ghettos collected through underground resistance networks.

In a BBC broadcast in June 1942, he spoke of “Jews in the ghettos who … see their relatives dragged away en masse to their death, knowing only too well that their own turn will come.”

At a Labour Party protest meeting at Caxton House in September 1942, he revealed horrific details of the nazis’ first use of poison gas in carrying out mass murder. In just seven weeks, he declared, 40,000 Jews in Chelmno had been herded into vans and gassed as they were driven to mass graves in the forests.

The Warsaw Ghetto revolt began on April 19 1943. The nazis’ plan to liquidate the ghetto and kill or deport its remaining 30,000 inhabitants was blocked for three weeks by an astonishing guerilla campaign waged by 220 Bundists, communists and left-wing zionists aged between 13 and 40 years, using smuggled and improvised weapons.

On May 8 1943, most of the surviving fighters were holed up in a bunker beneath 18 Mila Street at the heart of the ghetto. The nazis threw in tear gas to force the occupants out.

Most of the fighters, including their commander Mordechaj Anielewicz, killed themselves rather than allow the Nazis to murder them.

Around 40 fighters, though, escaped through a rear exit into the sewers, emerging outside the ghetto seeking hiding places or heading to the forests to link with partisans.

The day the revolt began coincided with the Bermuda Conference at which British and US politicians and diplomats met for 11 days but failed to agree any plans to rescue Jews or offer sanctuary to refugees. Zygielbojm received this news as a bitter blow.

On May 11, when he knew for certain that the ghetto revolt had been crushed, he wrote his suicide letters and, that night, he ingested poison in his Paddington flat.

At that moment, Zygielbojm believed that his closest family in Poland had all been exterminated, but one son, Joseph, had fought as a Red Army partisan, survived and settled in the United States.

Seventy-five years on, Szmul Zygielbojm’s extraordinary story still remains relatively obscure, largely for ideological reasons.

It casts an uncomfortable shadow over the manner in which Britain’s military objectives were defined and prioritised. Civil servants dismissed his evidence as exaggerated. His calls for action were ignored by military and political leaders alike as the rescue of Jews undergoing genocide in Poland was not a war priority. Three million of Poland’s 3.3 million Jews were exterminated.

But what of the Jewish community? The movement which Zygielbojm represented, the Bund, was secular, socialist, internationalist and committed to Yiddish culture.

It demanded full equality for all minorities and urged Jews to strive for equal rights wherever they lived. It opposed all nationalism, especially territorial nationalism, and strongly rejected zionism.

In Zygielbojm’s last personal letter in April 1943 to his brother Fayvl, who had escaped from Poland before the war, he excoriated zionists for “exploiting the Jewish tragedy for their political ends”, paraphrasing their spokespersons: “Another 100,000 Jews murdered. Give more money for Palestine.”

Zionism had been a small minority opinion within overwhelmingly working-class Jewish communities everywhere before the second world war, finding more traction among middle-class Jews.

The Holocaust and the appalling aftermath, where survivors languished in displaced persons camps with no country wanting to take them, engendered understandable sympathy for those trying to get refugees to Palestine.

As zionist ideology became more popular among post-war Jewish communities whose class position was shifting, non-zionist and anti-zionist Jews were increasingly marginalised.

Zygielbojm’s story did not fit the post-war consensus established by Jewish communal “leaders” that emphasised the precariousness of diaspora and redemption and security through Israel.

By the 1960s, teachers in Jewish schools and youth leaders alike were elevating the role of zionist ghetto fighters and airbrushing out Bundists and communists. They drew a false line between ghetto resisters in 1943 and Israel’s independence fighters in 1948.

They forgot Zygielbojm and ignored his fellow Bundist Marek Edelman, second-in-command in the uprising, who survived and stayed in Poland, where he affirmed: “We fought for dignity and freedom, not for a territory nor for a national identity.”

Zygielbojm was cremated in London, though his ashes were later interred in a New York cemetery of the Workmen’s Circle, a Bundist-inspired friendly society. A Zygielbojm monument stands there.

Bundist refugees in Canada established a similar monument in a Montreal park. There is a striking tribute to Zygielbojm in Warsaw, along a route “of Jewish martyrdom and suffering” through the former ghetto area.

Here in London, in 1993, a small group of Bundist survivors joined forces with younger members of the Jewish Socialists Group to campaign for a plaque in London.

It was finally unveiled in 1996 by Polish Ambassador Ryszard Stemplowski and Zygielbojm’s daughter-in-law Adele, a survivor of nazi slave labour camps, who came from the United States with her sons for a ceremony attended by nearly 200 people.

At a reception after the unveiling, Zygielbojm’s grandson Arthur said: “People are still being exterminated today because of an accident of birth. Because they are identified with one ethnic group or another.

“His death is not resolved. His message is still unanswered. His cry is not silent.”

Arthur’s brother Paul affirmed that “Szmul Zygielbojm’s labour and sacrifice were not for the Jews alone… amid his anguished pleas for the salvation of a people, he wrote of his belief that a better world would come … a world of freedom, justice and peace.”

We can only speculate what Szmul Zygielbojm would have made of Poland today, where pluralistic and forward-looking Jewish communities are once again growing in 15 cities on Poland.

But they do so in an atmosphere in which all minorities are feeling increasingly threatened by menacing far-right movements who draw confidence and encouragement from a government dominated by the Law and Justice party that indulges in open anti-semitism and Holocaust revisionism, Islamophobia, anti-Roma and anti-refugee racism.

Our own government is directly linked with the Law and Justice party through the Conservative and Reformists group in the European Parliament.

We and our Polish sisters and brothers have work to do!

The Zygielbojm plaque is on the corner of Porchester Road and Porchester Square, Paddington opposite Porchester Hall/Paddington Library, London W2.

Zygielbojm plaque

Polish right-wingers sue Argentinian paper about Holocaust


This video says about itself:

29 January 2008

On 10 July, 1941, over a thousand Jews were massacred in Jedwabne, Poland. They were herded into a barn which was doused with petrol and set on fire. Music was played to drown out their screams. The perpetators? Not [German] Nazis, but Poles.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, March 5, 2018

Polish right-wing group sues Argentinian paper under new Holocaust law

A POLISH group close to the country’s right-wing government has brought the first court case under the country’s divisive new Holocaust law, suing the Argentinian paper Página/12.

Página/12 published a response to the lawsuit yesterday, which the Polish League Against Defamation (PLAD) filed in Warsaw on Friday, saying that it had become “the first global target of an organisation that collaborates with the Polish government in its objective of censoring those who publish information about the Holocaust.”

PLAD filed its case just a day after the new law took effect. Poland’s government had faced criticism about the law, with some saying that it would stifle research and discussion about the Holocaust, particularly about collaboration with occupying nazi German forces.

Poland’s government insists it is just trying to stop smears against the country, particularly the inaccurate phrase “Polish death camps” to refer to nazi facilities.

Página/12’s article, published in December and reprinted in yesterday’s edition, was about a 1941 pogrom by Poles in the town of Jedwabne, where about 340 Polish Jews were killed by their neighbours.

PLAD focused particularly on Página/12’s use of a photograph of anti-communist fighters from the 1950s, saying that it showed “great historical ignorance.”

Página/12, which found out about the lawsuit through the press, said that, while the choice of picture “may have been an error, it seems absurd to use the photo as a supposed demonstration of the intention to ‘harm the Polish nation and the image of the Polish soldiers’.”

The newspaper compared the Polish law to one in Turkey that bans mention of the Armenian genocide, saying that it was now “a crime to write that there was Polish complicity in the Holocaust.”

Worldwide solidarity with Página/12: here.

This 21 February 2018 video by Israeli daily Haaretz is called Dear Poland: Your Holocaust law fools no one. No one forgets.

Also from The Morning Star:

Monday, March 5, 2018

Reality of anti-semitism in Poland cannot be scrubbed from history by political edict

TURKISH legislation banning mention of the Ottoman empire 1915-17 Armenian genocide has not weakened the historical evidence that such an atrocity took place.

The current Polish government’s replication of Ankara’s insistence on historical censorship is another self-serving attempt to whitewash past generations of crimes that certainly took place.

Those who refer to anti-semitic crimes by some Poles against their Jewish fellow citizens during the nazi occupation don’t accuse all Poles of collaboration with the German occupiers in the Holocaust.

But the enthusiastic involvement of large numbers of Polish anti-semites in the industrialised extermination of Jews cannot be scrubbed from history by political edict.

In the specific instance of the 1941 pogrom in the town of Jedwabne, in which about 340 Polish Jews were slaughtered by their neighbours, the pro-Warsaw government body Polish League Against Defamation (PLAD) makes much of an image used by Argentinian paper Página/12.

PLAD may be justified in saying that using a photograph of 1950s anti-communist guerilla forces in Poland to illustrate its piece shows “great historical ignorance,” but it does not follow that this was motivated by malice towards Poles or their soldiers.

Página’s error could have arisen because events it was covering took place 77 years ago, which makes the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s publication of a 1946 US State Department report all the more relevant.

The report found “evidence that Poles persecuted the Jews as vigorously as did the Germans” during the nazi occupation of Poland.

It looked at manifestations of anti-semitism, after nazi Germany’s defeat, when, for example, dozens of Jews liberated from concentration camps were murdered by local residents when they returned to the village of Kielce.

The 1946 document, which was declassified in August 1983, probed pre-war Polish government policies, “current anti-semitic manifestations and the possibilities for Jewish survival in Poland” in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, finding that “native Poles” had abetted German activities during the war.

The State Department noted that “continuance of the conflict between the government and the opposition in Poland is conducive to a resurgence of anti-semitism, which is easily employed as a weapon in this conflict.”

It recognised that “the government has made anti-semitism a crime”, but “the outrages continue, although on a somewhat reduced scale.”

For reference, the government referred to is the post-war administration installed after Poland’s liberation from nazi occupation by the Soviet Union’s Red Army. Anti-semitism was deployed by the opposition because Jews were seen as government backers.

The US document made clear that, even before Germany occupied Poland, anti-semitism “was one of the distinguishing factors of the country’s political, social and economic life.”

According to the State Department, “Polish anti-semitism was preached by political parties and church heads and practised by officials high and low”, recognising that the post World War I independent Polish government limited Jewish university student numbers and introduced discriminatory taxation.

Most Jews in Poland in 1939 lived as “second-class citizens” despite having token representation in parliament.

Anti-semitism did not, however, begin with Polish independence in 1918. It was longstanding state doctrine throughout the Russian empire, of which Poland was part, wielded by the tsarist autocracy along with Orthodox and Catholic churches.

Laws have been passed to outlaw this scourge, but it has still not been extirpated.

Honest and open examination of what took place, when and why is a necessary part of the process of rooting it out totally and this will not be assisted by legal censorship of historical examination.

Polish MPs back U-turn on scandalous Holocaust law: here.

‘Polish governmental inaction against neonazis’


This video says about itself:

22 January 2018

A television report shot with a hidden camera showing members of a Polish far-right group celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday sparked uproar on Monday, in a country still grappling with the memory of Nazi occupation.

The alarming footage, filmed in southwestern Poland and aired on news channel TVN24, shows a group of men wearing Nazi-inspired uniforms and performing Nazi salutes.

Among those caught on camera was a man identified as Mateusz S., the leader of neo-Nazi group Pride and Modernity (DN).
He appears to have been speaking at an event marking 128 years since the birth of Nazi dictator Adolf Hilter, held on a hill near the southwestern Polish village of Wodzislaw on an undisclosed date.

Undercover journalists also filmed large red flags with Nazi swastikas hanging on the trees and an altar with a portrait of Hitler.

Participants in the event set fire to a large wooden swastika soaked in flammable liquid that was fixed to a tree as they played a soundtrack of Nazi military marches.

The footage was broadcast on TVN24’s “Superwizjer” current affairs programme which also included clips from an ultranationalist rock festival in March 2017 involving both Poles and Germans, with swastikas or the initials SS tattooed on their bodies.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Polish Jewish leader denounces government’s inaction against neonazis

THE leader of Poland’s federation of Jewish communities has denounced the government for allowing the growth of the country’s neonazi movement.

Union of Jewish Communities in Poland president Leslaw Piszewski spoke out following a shocking documentary broadcast on Polish TV that showed fascists celebrating Hitler’s birthday in a forest.

The fascists, some wearing SS uniforms, raised a toast to Hitler, whose portrait hung from a tree, ate a swastika-iced cake and sieg-heiled a large wooden swastika as it burned.

“What else has to happen for us to look, to open our eyes, for the authorities to say that fascism and nazism are not tolerated in Poland?” stormed Mr Piszewski.

Attorney General Zbigniew Ziobro vowed to act against the fascists, but still drew a distinction in his statement between Jewish and non-Jewish Poles murdered by nazi Germany’s forces.

The nazi ceremony took place just 30 miles from the Auschwitz death camp, where tomorrow there will be an event to mark the 73rd anniversary of its liberation by the Soviet army.

Israel criticises Poland over proposed Holocaust law: here.

The lower house of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) approved a bill January 26 which provides for severe penalties for both Polish and foreign citizens who use the term “Polish concentration camps” and who refer to the participation of Poles in the crimes of the Holocaust. The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and the president, but is expected to pass these hurdles: here.

World War II-Era Envelopes Suggest Polish Knowledge of Holocaust. By Aviya Kushner, February 1, 2018.

Israel minister says Poland cancelled his visit amid Holocaust law dispute. Education minister Naftali Bennett says ‘I am honored’. Bill would outlaw blaming Poles for historical crimes against Jews: here.

Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law Tuesday a bill censoring free speech about the Holocaust, after it has been passed by the lower and upper houses of the Polish parliament: here.

2018, year of the house martin


This video from a high-rise building in Poland shows house martins feeding their young.

2018 is the Year of the house martin in the Netherlands.