ASEEES Condemns Polish Law Criminalizing Public Discussion of Possible Polish Role in Nazi War Crimes

The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies condemns the bill drafted by the Polish legislature and signed into law by President Andrzej Duda on February 6, 2018, that states, in part: “Whoever claims, publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich or for other felonies that constitute crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or whoever otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators of said crimes—shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment for up to three years.”

The new law threatens freedom of speech and the future of historical scholarship, which depends upon open inquiry and the pursuit of impartial truth. We urge the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland to reconsider this law and have co-signed a statement issued by the American Historical Association.