On Visiting Poland
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Letters to the editor

On Visiting Poland

Regarding Joshua Hammerman’s opinion piece, “Right Boycott, Wrong Country” (March 9): There is much to respond to, but suffice it to mention two events: the Jedwabne Massacre of 1941, and Kielce Pogrom of July 1946.

Fine museums don’t undo the reality of what was, nor do they change the experience of those millions who suffered. Rabbi Hammerman made mention of the Polin Museum in Warsaw, praising the Polish government for its display of goodwill in contributing to the building of the museum. There is an impressive museum in Berlin as well, designed by the son of Holocaust survivors. Does its existence absolve Berliners and their government from taking full responsibility for what happened there more than 70 years ago?

Like you, Rabbi, I visited Warsaw and Krakow last summer. But you and I are simply tourists. What right do either of us have to whitewash atrocities committed by Poles against Jews? The memory of suffering that my father, father-in-law and countless other Jews endured as a result of anti-Semitic acts perpetrated against them in the streets of Poland before, during, and even after the war is something that remained in their hearts and in their minds until their dying day.

Yes, we should acknowledge the brave, righteous Poles. But let’s not support Poland’s effort to diminish the reality of the virulent anti-Semitism that has existed and continues to fester by turning away from and providing excuses for behavior that has resulted in the misery and death of countless Jews.

Jamaica, Queens

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