Skip to comments.Poland is not Shoah-land
Posted on 08/08/2007 1:48:48 PM PDT by lizol
Poland is not Shoah-land
From Warsaw Business Journal
A recent incident in which 35 Hasidic Jewish tourists forcibly entered the museum of the Majdanek concentration camp after the facility's closing time, removing gates from their hinges and breaking into one of the barracks, has highlighted the misunderstandings so prevalent in the hugely complicated relationship between modern Jews and modern Poland.
To be fair, the tourists in this case spoke very little English and no Polish, and were not able to understand what the museum's security guard was telling them. Still, it seems hard to imagine that they didn't understand that breaking locks was inappropriate. The group paid $400 for the damage they caused.
This is not the first such incident. Also in July, around 60 Israeli college students arrived at the grounds of the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp at 11 pm and demanded to be let inside. Despite the hour, the museum guards allowed them to enter, preferring to avoid conflict. The students left the site around 5 am.
The fact is that such tourists represent a small minority of the many Jewish visitors coming to Poland to broaden their understanding of the Holocaust. But the incidents have also underscored that these travellers often understand little about the Poland of today. Many Israeli tour groups arriving in Poland greatly restrict their contact with Polish society, and security guards are a standard feature of package travel. To Poles it often seems they are uninterested, even uncivil, in their relations with locals. Moreover, the message they send is clear: Poland is the land of the Shoah, and little more.
Undoubtedly, it is of extreme importance for Jews to have the opportunity to visit these sites. But in the interest of international relations and intercultural understanding, their vision of Poland should not be blinkered to see only the history of the Holocaust.
Both Poles and Israelis could do much to further that goal. Poland should continue to work to improve ties with Jews around the world, and to present itself as a modern, tolerant country. Jewish visitors, for their part, have every right to seek understanding of the Shoah and its legacy, but they should do so while abiding the law and keeping an open mind about modern Poland.
Polish people need to try to explain why they turned so quickly upon their citizens and helped them to be brutalized.
It doesn’t give the tourists a right to act like jerks.
OOOps X 3
Agreed. There’s no need to be obnoxious, espcially towards those who weren’t even ALIVE during those years.
At first it didn't bother me, but after about the 3rd, I got a little ticked off. Of all the cultural treasures the area around Krakow has, it appears the only thing the average American-looking tourist wants to see is a concentration camp. It's not that I don't think this is an important thing to see when you're there, but it isn't the only thing, nor is it even the most important thing.
Sure, just like they have to explain why so many of them hid and aided Jews.
Some Poles were virtuous and helped Jews, others didn't. Very few actively collaborated with the Nazis, though some surely did. Every nation has its share of devils.
Tarring an entire nation with the actions of a tiny minority is a most dishonorable act.
You should be ashamed of yourself.
From what I understand Krakow is a beautiful, very culturally rich city.
Sorry, but Western Jews who are “angry” about the Holocaust today are reminding me more and more of African Americans still “angry” about slavery 200 years ago.
Never forget, but save your anger for the here and now. Worry about the people who are trying to kill you today.
If that natural defensive peoplehood response were properly channeled, I would be happy. However, it is not.
As for the American kids, who have no direct association with ther Holocaust, perhaps they should be asked why they and their parents still hail FDR.
If you hate Poles so much then maybe you should simply stay out of Poland and leave it at that.
I have been there and that is just how I found it.