Polish nationalists demonstrated in Manhattan Sunday against a proposed U.S. law that would provide compensation to victims of the Holocaust who had their property seized during the war. Their contingent of several dozen protestors was met by a counter-protest group.
The demonstration comes as there has been considerable pushback from Poland and the Polish government against the historical evidence of Polish participation in the carrying out of the Holocaust in Poland. Last year, Poland passed a law effectively making it illegal to blame Poland or the Polish people for Nazi crimes. The law passed amid widespread sentiment in the country that Poland has been falsely accused of playing a role in the Holocaust, and its government has insisted that international media not use phrases like “Polish death camp” when referring to Auschwitz, which is in Poland.
On Sunday, several protestors carried signs reading “Holocaust Industry,” “Treat anti-Polonism like anti-Semitism” and “Stop slandering Poland in the media.” Others spoke to the considerable losses that the Polish population endured under Nazi occupation.
The Polish nationalists were demonstrating against the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act of 2017, passed last year.
A group of counter-protestors, some bearing “antifa” insignia on their signs, rallied against the Polish nationalist demonstration. The groups included Outlive Them NYC, a group of Jewish anti-fascists.
Jewish author and artist Molly Crabapple reported hearing anti-Semitic comments from the protestors.
“There were over a hundred Polish nationalists out- everyone from the elderly to mothers with little kids,” Crabapple wrote on Twitter. “One woman touched my arm and told me the Jews of Warsaw were mostly killed by other Jews.”
Crabapple also noted that one person told her that the Jews were responsible for Russian invasions of Poland.
Polish nationalists held signs saying “stop the holocaust industry” and accusing Jews of welcoming Nazi and Soviet invasions pic.twitter.com/pGeMCP4SmH— Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) March 31, 2019
Sign denouncing Frank Blaichman, a Polish Jew and partisan who led a hundred-fighter unit against the Nazis. Blaichman’s partisan group killed Nazi collaborators https://t.co/H1iwi8z5K7 pic.twitter.com/PAlQVchujt— Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) April 1, 2019