Czy Pius XII jest winny lub współwinny zagłady Żydów w czasie II wojny światowej? Odpowiedź Żydów – świadków, którzy przeżyli Shoah, jest jednomyślna: nikomu tyle nie zawdzięczają, ile temu papieżowi. Sztuka teatralna Namiestnik z 1963 roku radykalnie zmieniła tę opinię na niekorzyść papieża: został uznany za (głównego) winowajcą zagłady. Ekspozycja przygotowana w Muzeum Męczeństwa Yad Vashem w Jerozolimie w 2005 roku sformułowała winę papieża Piusa XII w siedmiu oskarżeniach-zarzutach: (1) zawarł konkordat z Hitlerem; (2) nie ogłosił antyrasistowskiej encykliki przygotowanej przez Piusa XI; (3) nie reagował protestem na relacje o postępującej zagładzie; (4) uchylił się od podpisania deklaracji aliantów w 1942 roku potępiającej eksterminację; (5) nie ochronił Żydów rzymskich; (6) zachowywał neutralność; (7) milczał wobec ludobójstwa. Autor usiłuje wykazać niesłuszność tych zarzutów.
The article is devoted to the late Zygmunt Bauman (d. January 2017), a scholar who made an enormous impact on world humanities at the turn of the twentieth century. It briefly presents Bauman’s life and a number of the best known concepts from his works. The author first discusses Bauman’s attitude toward Marxist theory and explains his revision of it. He then introduces the main ideas of Bauman work Modernity and the Holocaust. The article ends with a review of Bauman’s reflections on globalisation and a discussion of his thesis concerning the crisis of the nation state.
2018 amendment of the act on the Polish Institute of National Remembrance that was passed by the Polish Sejm in January 2018 raised a vibrant public debate about Polish-Jewish relations. In this article, we try to trace the dynamics of this debate and assess its consequences for contemporary Polish-Jewish relations and present-day representations of the relations between Poles and Jews during the German occupation in 1939–1945. To this end, we present the analysis of social media content, data from search engines, as well as the results of two nationwide polls conducted at the beginning of 2018. These studies indicate that the debate on amendment of the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance has increased the expression of antisemitic prejudice in the media and on the internet, increased the presence of defective codes of memory, and at the same time polarized the Polish debate about the behavior of Poles during the Holocaust. The results of these analyzes are discussed in the context of earlier debates on the Polish-Jewish relations during Nazi occupation, referring to the category of “secondary antisemitism” that receives growing support in current social sciences.
The motto of Zofia Nałkowska’s short-story collection Medaliony [Medalions] – “People doomed people to this fate” [Polish, “Ludzie ludziom zgotowali ten los”] – as obvious as it may apparently seem, has aroused various controversies. Henryk Grynberg believed that the only right formula, the one that would do justice to those persecuted, would have been “People doomed Jews to this fate”. Recently, the discussion was resumed in a book on the portrayal of the Holocaust in Medaliony – Zagłada w „Medalionach” Zofii Nałkowskiej, edited by Tomasz Żukowski: one of its essays (by Żukowski and Aránzazu Calderón Puerta) notices that endeavours to universalise the Holocaust is at least premature for the Poles tending to avoid facing the truth about their own contribution to annihilation of the Jews. While the threads addressed in these debates are important, they disregard the beliefs and the system of values Nałkowska adhered to. The Polish novelist adopted the view that man and the pleasure he takes in inflicting pain is the actual cause of evil. This inclination revealed itself not only during the war. This more general observation was rooted in her knowledge of life, relations between people, and daily cruelty. Supported by an ideology and furnished with technical resources, the war added a historical dimension to this bent. Moreover, Nałkowska was definitely not one among those who stayed silent in respect of the Jewish victims. Conversely, a few of the stories in Medaliony speak exactly about this problem, never trying to conceal anti-Semitic attitudes among Poles.
This article provides an overview of “memory laws” in Europe, reflecting upon what may be called the “asymmetry” of such laws. It then looks at the special case of Poland and its troubled experience with memory laws; it considers the question of whether, in the eyes of the law – genocide, and in particular the Holocaust – is so “special” that its public denials warrant legal intervention. It also looks at the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and its (not necessarily coherent) “doctrine” on memory laws and their consistency, or otherwise, with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (and in particular with freedom of expression as laid down in Art. 10). The article concludes by asserting that even if we take the law as an indicator of European public memory, there is no consensus on the past, except perhaps for the special case of the Holocaust. The main challenge lies in determining whether memory laws, defined by some as social engineering and the imposition of “imperative” versions of memory, are consistent with the principles inherent in open, democratic and free societies in Europe. This challenge remains unmet.
In post-humanist studies of identity, otherness and exclusion – conducted within the de-anthropocentrism of the humanities – questions arise about the condition of non-human subjects (animals, plants, things) that gain the cultural and social status of Others. As non-human entities, they have a socializing value, cement interpersonal relations, attract people to certain places. They have performative, integrative and co-creating abilities. The posthumanistic “turn towards things” opens the room for the construction of their social (auto) biographies, a development which already has been taking place in contemporary children’s literature. The problem of the creation of (auto)biographies of non-human subjects is presented in this article on the example of the picture book Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear by Tomi Ungerer. The artist gives the non-anthropomorphized plush toy the status of a non-human subject and an active actor of social life as a medium of unoffi cial memory of the Holocaust. Ungerer consciously and innovatively uses the key determinants of the posthuman discourse, including intimate childhood experiences.