Official Statement opposing Poland's amendment of the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance


February 20, 2018

Antisemitism Scholars condemn recent Polish actions

February 20th, 2018

Vienna University Campus

We, the assembled international scholars and experts on antisemitism call on the government of Poland to withdraw its proposed amendment of the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance.

This law, if implemented would severely inhibit freedom of research and speech and would severely distort the history of the Holocaust in Poland. It poses a direct threat to Holocaust survivors, scholars and all those who research and retell the story of that dark period. While we also agree that the term “Polish death camps” is historically inaccurate and should be strictly avoided, we firmly reject all attempts to educate through threats and criminalization

We also express our deep dismay and concern about the recent manifestations of antisemitism that have appeared in statements from the highest levels of the Polish government and elected representatives and in State media. These statements have created an atmosphere that challenge the ability of the Jewish community to continue to exist in Poland and have brought controversy and shame onto Poland’s international reputation

Both of the manifestations described above fall under the categories described in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) “Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion” and “Working Definition of Antisemitism”. We call upon Poland, as a longstanding member of the IHRA to live up to its international commitments and to reject any action that falls under those definitions.

Finally we also wish to express our concern about the growing trend of democratically elected governments to legitimize antisemitism through words and actions.

It is our hope that our conference, by gathering the leading international experts on antisemitism together with an eye toward suggesting policy recommendations in the fight against antisemitism can help bring about “An End to Antisemitism”.

Issued by
Armin LANGE, University of Vienna
Ariel MUZICANT, European Jewish Congress
Dina PORAT, Tel Aviv University / Yad VaShem
Lawrence SCHIFFMAN, New York University
Mark WEITZMAN, IHRA / Simon Wiesenthal Center

on behalf of all colleagues and conference participants

Press Coverage (German only)