Criticism of Kate Maltby from The Guardian. Truth about Poland and WW2
The Guardian has tainted itself by spreading racial hatred against Poles and Poland under the guise of Freedom of Speech, most recently when it published the opinion piece “William and Kate have been duped into endorsing Poland’s ugly nationalism” by a Bright Blue Associate Fellow, Kate Maltby. In this opinion story Ms. Maltby used historically inaccurate and extremely offensive arguments in support of her views. Her provocative journalistic style may have been designed to awaken public interest, but it is actually her extreme ignorance and visible disdain for a whole ethnicity that are garnering attention.
The Guardian, having published nine paragraphs of Ms. Maltby’s poisonous rhetoric, disrespectful to Polish victims of German genocide and to Polish freedom fighters, censored the response of the Polish Ambassador by dramatically shortening it to only two paragraphs. The Guardian did also publish a short letter by British MP Daniel Kawczynski, but in a sentence referencing German criminality in occupied Poland, removed the word German, thereby changing the content of the letter by erasinging mention of German culpability for genocide against both Jews, Poles and others, while insidiously insinuating Polish culpability through imprecise wording. This shows bias on the part of The Guardian, engagement in inappropriate historical insinuations, as well as censorious and manipulative conduct. It also indicates an endorsement of the hateful content of Ms. Maltby’s piece and undermines the principles of fair, honest and open debate.
While every person should have the right to express an opinion, it should be free of racial hatred, as stipulated in the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006passed by the British parliament which Ms. Maltby’s piece appears to violate. For credibility reasons it should also be free of unsubstantiated claims. Ms. Maltby wrote, “You might not have heard of Stutthof, a Nazi concentration camp near Gdańsk; you are more likely to have heard of Auschwitz. But the royals were taken, with their mass of photographers, to Stutthof because it was initially built to imprison ethnic Polish leaders among the resistance and intelligentsia.” First of all, both camps were initially built to imprison Poles and not Jews. . The first mass transport to Auschwitz took place on June 14, 1940 and it consisted of 728 Poles, including 20 Polish Jews.
The mass transport of Jews to Auschwitz began about 2 years later. About 75,000 Poles perished in Auschwitz, which makes them the second largest ethnic group that perished there. Hundreds of thousands of Poles were imprisoned also in other German camps like Majdanek, Dachau, Buchenwald, Mauthausen-Gusen or Ravensbrück. Ms. Maltby’s dance on the graves of the victims is simply outrageous and disrespectful! Roughly 3 million ethnic Poles along with 3 million Polish Jews died at the hands of the Germans. Second of all, the Royal couple decided where to go. The reasoning given by Ms. Maltby for the choice to visit this camp, besides being ridiculous, is simply unsupported. Most importantly, Ms. Maltby suggests that Polish victims of Nazi Germany are unworthy of a visit to pay them respect, and that is outrageously disrespectful and racist.
The anti-Polish tirade of Ms. Maltby also includes completely unfounded and offensive claims that the current Polish government supports “Holocaust denial”. She wrote: “The Princeton historian Jan Gross, whose award-winning book Neighbors explored the 1941 massacre committed by Poles against Polish Jews in the village of Jedwabne, has faced repeated harassment under new laws that ban publicly insulting the Polish nation. This is state-sponsored Holocaust denial.” Mr. Gross was educated in sociology. He has dabbled in historical research but in doing so has ignored the basic tools of historical workshop as he proposed his sensational, yet unsupported theories. The American historian Richard Lukas, author of “Forgotten Holocaust” touched on one of the many inadequacies in the research by Gross: “Gross makes the quaint observation that he asked two (German) scholars, both of whom were allegedly familiar with German archives, about Jedwabne and neither of them heard of it.” Lukas later questions: “Does asking two colleagues about the subject replace the need to immerse oneself personally in critical documents, which are absolutely essential to prove one’s allegations about what happened at Jedwabne?”
From this exchange Gross concluded that there were no German death squads in the vicinity of Jedwabne at the time of the crime, and therefore it had to be the Poles that were the perpetrators. Meanwhile, records do show that German death squads were active around Jedwabne. Most evidence points to the massacre of Jews in the city of Jedwabne being organized by the German SS on the orders of Reinhard Heydrich to annihilate European Jewry. On July 10, 1941, the SS entered the town, and with the assistance of the German mayor, directed the Poles and Jews to the square and had them perform various inconsequential functions, and eventually marched the Jews to a barn and burned them therein. This event served as the basis for Gross’ novel “Neighbors” (2001), in which he accused the Polish Christians of brutally killing Jedwabne’s Jews. The research of Gross was criticized in books like “Lessons and Legacies VII: The Holocaust in International Perspective” by Peter Hayes and Dagmar Herzog. Also Polish historians such as professor Marek Chodakiewicz exposed Gross’ biased, historically inaccurate and sensationalist research style (see “The Massacre in Jedwabne, July 10, 1941: Before, During, After, Columbia University Press and East European Monographs”). It is also an outright lie that Gross “has faced repeated harassment under new laws that ban publicly insulting the Polish nation” as there is no such law in Poland.
Ms. Maltby also states that “the central mission of the Polish government is the ambition to rewrite Poland’s official history, particularly that of the Second World War. Gone are any references in school textbooks to Polish collaboration with the murder of Jews and other minorities. In fact, Poland is correcting vicious and deceitful anti-Polish Soviet propaganda that the Soviet imposed Communist government used to smear and persecute Poles that did not embrace Communist rule. The Polish government is undoing years of misinformation spread by Soviet-friendly journalists, correspondents, editors and publications, and which Ms. Maltby and The Guardian seem to wish to continue.
Ms. Maltby, has the gall to question the respect and honor shown by the royal couple to the participants of the Warsaw Uprising, whereby the city, under the command of the non-Communist underground, at the call of the approaching Soviet army, rose up against the German occupiers. They were then left to themselves by the Soviet army, which idly watched from across the Vistula river, withheld air and artillery support, and prevented aid and reinforcements from reaching the insurgents, until it was too late. The citizens of Warsaw, barely armed, with only enough supplies to last a few days, liberated most of the city and held on for 63 days. They succumbed to starvation, German armored reinforcements, indiscriminate bombardment from heavy artillery and the Luftwaffe, and the slaughter of innocent men, women and children, unhindered by the nearby Soviet military. After the war, instead of being honored for their sacrifices, members of the Polish Underground, including those involved in the uprising, were arrested en masse based solely on their potential to be a threat to Soviet control, often on trumped up charges. They were tortured, held in horrendous conditions for years, or murdered by hanging, a bullet to the back of the head, or even by being thrown to vicious dogs.
No monument or museum was built by the communist regime to memorialize the huge undertaking by the Polish capital city. After what the members of the Polish Underground experienced for decades, Ms. Maltby’s cruel insensitivity towards them has raised eyebrows. It actually strengthens the resolve to finally, once and for all, end the influence of the Polish Communists who betrayed their country by supporting the Soviet occupation of Poland, but are the ones many media organizations go to for (misleading) comments and quotes on current Polish affairs. Which brings us to the final contentious subject in the opinion piece, the question of the proposed reforms to the Polish judiciary by the first Polish government without Communists since the fall of Communism.
The Polish judiciary has been criticized time and time again by organizations assessing the business climate in Poland after Communism. It so happens that judges in Communist Poland were Communist party members, adverse to normal business practices or the possession of private property. They also sentenced innocent people to death and imprisonment for not supporting the regime, which had chosen them for their positions. The regime meanwhile was not chosen by the Polish people, but imposed by Soviet might, which makes the regime illegitimate. Judges appointed by an illegitimate regime, should be also considered illegitimate. Promoting and acting on false Soviet propaganda, or sentencing innocent people in mock trials, surely exhibits a lack of integrity and credibility. Polish Communist judges, however, due to the peaceful transition out of Communism, were left in place, although they probably could have been prosecuted. Also left in place was an undemocratic nominating system. According to this system, Communist judges continued to select newer judges, and, according to critics, did so from within their own families and circles. Based on the genesis of the current Polish Judiciary, if not former Communists, then selected by Communists or former Communists, most appointments are the fruits of a very poisonous tree.
Removing judges tainted by Communism is something most of the Polish people want and deserve! It is not for European Union representatives like Frans Timmermans to dictate to a democratically elected Polish government and parliament how to reform a glaringly illegitimate judiciary, especially those from such countries as the Netherlands, that were liberated from Nazi Germany by Polish soldiers that were arrested and sentenced by Communist judges upon return to Poland after the war, only because the Communists considered them also a threat to their rule. The proposed changes are appropriate, bring Poland even closer to Democratic norms, and strengthen the rule of law. As far as the main charge against the judicial reforms, it is that the proposals will politicize the judiciary because the Polish parliament, the President, and the Justice Minister will have more say in the appointments of judges. Meanwhile, in other countries in Europe, such as Germany and France, and also in the United States, politicians already have the same say, or even more, in appointments of Judges than that contained in the proposed reforms in Poland (see: http://thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/317562).
The Guardian (of Hate) owes an apology to Polish victims of German genocide, to members of the Polish WW II Underground, and to their families. The Guardian should print a complete response to the opinion piece by Ms. Maltby. It should also stop improperly referring to Poles who happen to be proud of their heritage as „Nationalists”. The Guardian should start engaging in fair reporting on Poland, by getting both sides of an issue, directly from both sides involved in the issue, as opposed to just quoting those from the one side that coincidentally misrepresent facts, and happen to spew anti-Polish Soviet propaganda and hatred.
(Full letter of Polish Ambassador, censored by The Guardian (of Hate);
Stefan Komar, New York
The information and views set out in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Polish Youth Association.
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