No, you should not say « polish extermination camps”

Under the pressure of the ultra-conservative groups, the Polish Parliament decided to criminalise any reference to the “polish extermination camps” in order to clean up the image of the country already damaged by a democratic deficit and by the expansion of a nationalist and xenophobic right.

pologne art

No, you should not say “polish extermination camps”. Following the bill launched in 2013 by the ultra-conservative party, the lower room of the polish parliament delivered its opinion with 57 in favour and 23 against in the beginning of February. This law punishes with fine or prison sentences up to three years the polish people or the foreigners who would incriminate “the nation or the polish state” for the crimes committed by the German Nazis in occupied Poland. Even if most of the extermination camps were situated in its territory, the Polish State considered itself as a victim of this war. As a matter of facts, it has not collaborated with the third Reich contrary to other countries and has lost 15 to 30% of its population according to historian’s calculations.


This decision provoked many reactions especially from the USA and Israel. Benyamin Netanyaou strongly opposed to this law. Moreover, around a hundred of polish figures (artists, journalists, politicians) gathered through the signature of an appeal for this draft to be amended. Indeed, this law can be considered as an attempt to deny any involvement of members of the local population to the extermination of Jews and it could weaken any Holocaust  survivor evoking such cases. The writer Jan Thomasz  Gross dared to tackle the extermination of Jews by the Polish in his writings and run the risk of having his Star of merit withdrawn. So this draft hinders historical and journalistic studies. It’s a way for the polish government leaded by the nationalist party “Law and Justice” to show a Manichean version of the conflict in which Poland would be a martyr. It’s difficult not to view it as censorship. Nevertheless, the polish government showed himself open to dialogue with Israel. The freedom of speech is fundamental. According to the 10th article of the European Convention on human rights. This right includes “freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and  ideas  without  interference  by  public  authority  and  regardless  of  frontiers.” To remain true to its European and social mission and to its information work, the Ipse has to denounce the areas where it is endangered, especially when it is accompanied by a democratic deficit.