This week’s post is motivated by unsettling political developments in Poland concerning the Holocaust. Last week, the Polish president signed into law a bill that could criminalize the work of historians (or anyone else) for implying that Poles colluded with the Nazis or participated in the destruction of Jewish life during World War II. This might well have a chilling effect on our evolving understanding of those events.
In writing for various guidebooks, I’ve traveled all around Poland and visited many of the most significant sites of the Nazi Holocaust. Travel is one of the most effective antidotes for fighting ignorance, and a sense of place can often evoke a deeper understanding. Here, below, I share my thoughts on the new law and go off the beaten track in Poland to write about some of those significant sites -- in the hope of combating what feels like creeping censorship.