Poland, Meet Barbara Streisand

Poland’s new law which forbids discussion of Polish complicity in the Holocaust has made discussion of Polish complicity in the Holocaust much more more likely.

Poland, meet the Streisand Effect:

The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread it is increased.

It appears that the Polish parliament IS a Polish joke:

But an effort to refocus attention on to Polish suffering, and away from the Holocaust, through a change to Poland’s anti-defamation law — which now makes it a crime for anyone, in any part of the world, to accuse “the Polish Nation” of complicity in Nazi war crimes — has backfired spectacularly.

The new law, which took effect this week, prompted widespread criticism from Israeli officials and Jewish groups in the United States — as well as Polish historians, Germany’s foreign minister and the State Department. In an effort to defuse tensions, Poland’s far-right, nationalist government has promised that the law will not be enforced in the coming weeks, until it can be reviewed by the nation’s constitutional court.

But even if the law is never enforced, the debate over the text of the amendment has already profoundly damaged Poland’s past and present reputation.

The clearest impact of the legislation has been to draw fresh attention to recent historical research which makes it plain that Poles rarely opposed and were frequently complicit in the persecution of their Jewish neighbors by the Nazis following the annexation of western Poland to Germany.


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