NYT Opinion: “Poland Digs Itself a Memory Hole” by Marci Shore

February 4, 2018
“Life, as we find it, is too hard for us,” Sigmund Freud wrote. “In order to bear it we cannot dispense with palliative measures.”
Since coming to power in Poland in 2015, Law and Justice, the nationalist populist party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has embarked on a series of palliative measures. The most recent is a draft law outlawing accusations of Polish participation in the Holocaust and other war crimes that took place during the German occupation of Poland. In the past 10 days, the bill has been approved by both legislative houses, the Sejm and the Senate. Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, was given 21 days to decide whether to sign the bill.
This draft law is part of a program introduced in the past two years, named by the Law and Justice government “a good change.” The change has included attempts to legalize government control of the media and introduce draconian anti-abortion laws. Law and Justice has also debased public language, conjuring phrases reminiscent of the “newspeak” of the Communist years. Liberals have become “pigs cut off from the trough.”
“Volksdeutsch” once referred to Poles who, during the Nazi occupation, betrayed Poland by registering as ethnic Germans to secure the occupier’s favor. Now, “becoming a ‘Volksdeutsch’ ” describes Polish citizens who ask the European Union to investigate the government’s constitutional violations — for example, denying the force of law to decisions of the Constitutional Tribunal and passing laws that abolish an independent judiciary.
Communists once spoke of “enemies of the people.” Today Mr. Kaczynski labels those who criticize the government “the worst sort of Poles.” They are those who reject the “joyous mood” of authentic Poles, otherwise called Law and Justice supporters. The “worst kind” have taken to the streets to protest in larger numbers than Poland has seen since Solidarity.
Read the full article at NYTimes.com