The President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI), Noemi Di Segni, made a plea to scholars, researchers and civil society to protect the right and the duty to the Memory, education and knowledge of the Holocaust. This right and this duty, she says, are being threatened by Poland’s new law, recently signed by President Andrzej Duda.
“If Poland’s constitutional court approves the law, it will be a sad watershed day for the scientific community and for Europe, whose countries have wanted to reaffirm the principles of truth and freedom since the war ended”, UCEI’s president stated. You can join her plea by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the hashtag #noleggepolonia.
“Poland is a great contry with a great history and gained freedom of speech through sufferings and heroism. A law like the one approved by the Parliament on January 31 betrays these values”, Ms. Di Segni had said to President Duda, trying to dissuade him from signing.
The president of the Union of Polish Jewish communities Leslaw Piszewski and Polish representatives to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance received messages of solidarity and support.
Dear scholars, researchers and civil society,
I plead with you on behalf of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities and of all Italian Jews to share a common concern about the freedom of research.
I plead with you after Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a law that entrusts to courts the investigation of historical facts and responsibility that should be studied and analyzed in schools and universities. The few lines approved by the Polish parliament affirm and deny, at the same time, something we should understand from the thousands of brave testimonies to the sufferings endured, coming from all the then occupied countries and territories; from the thousands of lives cut short and childhoods denied; from the myriad of documents and archives. Something we should explore in the hundreds of places that make up the map of hatred, persecution and extermination. It is not just the camps; it is not just the time between September 1, 1939 and January 27, 1945.
No doubt Poland was the victim of a cruel occupation by Nazi Germany, which committed there the most heinous crimes in human history. No doubt thousands of Polish citizens risked their lives and saved many more. But that happened also because of the civilians and the police forces that upheld the centuries-old hatred, that did nothing to prevent the massacre from happening, that worked together all over Poland, that were followed by new groups after the liberation.
The real topic that has been explored in several researches and investigations is not the question of “Polish camps” or “Nazi camps”. It is the topic of responsibility, of the extent of the hatred and the crimes committed, of the dehumanisation and later the extermination, of what Poland lost forever with its three million Jews lost in the ashes of the camps, of the freedom of today’s historical research and art, of using national pride as a shield against any serious and important debate.
If Poland’s constitutional court approves the law, it will be a sad watershed day for the scientific community and for Europe, whose countries have wanted to reaffirm the principles of truth and freedom since the war ended. A watershed between right and wrong. Not for pointing out some places’ names and expressing Polish national pride; it’s a watershed between the denial and the safeguard of the freedom of research and study.
This is why I plead with you, prestigious scholars and citizens of Europe, to join me and commit to protecting the right and the duty to Memory, education, art, knowledge, judgement, and life.
Noemi Di Segni, President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities
Translated by Federica Alabiso, student at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, intern at the newspaper office of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.