Changing Poland

As a child of Jewish Holocaust survivors from Poland and the Ukraine, as well as an American Fulbright who lived in Poland for a year, I am encouraged by the Palikot movement and the radical changes evidenced in Polish politics, described in the December 9 article, “Not Your Grandma’s Poland Anymore.” With Palikot garnering 10% of the national vote, signs are encouraging that the pendulum has swung, and a more mature, democratic Poland is emerging out of the ashes of the past.

The fear of a backlash from the right wing must not dampen the optimism. By example, in the United States, the struggles and accomplishments generated by the civil rights movement led to the enactment of laws directly responsible for the momentous changes we have seen in this country since the 1960s.

Through the perseverance of and the risk-taking advocacy of groups such as Palikot, there is a chance for a real sea change in the laws in Poland that have enabled the right wing to practice and fund their propaganda. Anti-Semitism may never be entirely removed or outlawed, but the right to openly practice discrimination against Jews and other minorities will be curtailed in Poland if there are laws that outlaw such discrimination on the basis of religion or race.

Minna Zielonka-Packer
New York, N.Y.

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Changing Poland

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