Wiesenthal Center Expresses Deep Dismay at Attempts to Intimidate Polish Scholars
February 1, 2021
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) expressed its dismay and apprehension today over a renewed push in Poland to intimidate Polish Holocaust scholars and scholarship. In the most pressing case, the renowned scholars Professors Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski have been sued for slander by a government-funded Polish NGO (Polish Anti-Defamation League) and the verdict is expected shortly. Other scholars are facing similar threats.
Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs for the SWC said “The proceedings against these two scholars of international repute are nothing more than an attempt to use the legal system to muzzle and intimidate scholarship on the Holocaust in Poland. Their “slander” was to publish a meticulously researched and sourced book, “Night Without End” that details thousands of cases of complicity by Poles in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. Scholarly research and the open exchange of ideas should be the accepted method of historical debate, and they should not be threatened by government funded institutions using the courts to further their own political agendas. The fact that other scholars and writers have facing similar legal threats shows that there is an organized campaign to muzzle uncomfortable aspects of the history of the Holocaust in Poland.
We call upon the government of Poland to uphold its international commitments and to take the proper steps to protect researchers from any attempt at political interference.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).