Jewish group’s report: Nationalism, anti-Semitism appear in some Polish textbooks

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – Nationalism and anti-Semitism are present in some history textbooks in Poland, a new report found.

The report, “Anti-Semitism is not an option,” by the Czulent Jewish Association in conjunction with the Autonomia Foundation, analyzed 142 Polish history textbooks used in formal education settings accepted by the Polish Ministry of National Education and 29 used in informal education settings.

The report was presented last week to the Polish Ombudsman’s office in Warsaw.

“There is nationalism presented in many workbooks,” Bozena Keff, a publicist and researcher from the Jewish Historical Institute, told the Polish edition of Newsweek. “You can be either Ukrainian, Jew or a Pole and there is no place for doubts or showing the complexity of the problem.

“[Textbook] authors don’t provide us with any information that might help to see any other possible points of view on [a] situation.”

Previous research on the subject took place in 2001-2004.

“At that time, there were not as many content concerning Jewish topics,” Anna Makowka-Kwapisiewicz, president of the Czulent Jewish Association, told Newsweek. “If it appeared at all, it was usually in the context of the Holocaust. Today we were surprised by the quantity of the threads connected to the Shoah as well as Jewish culture in Poland.

“I can’t believe that educated people, experts and lecturers from well-known universities, could possibly consciously smuggle in anti-Semitic content and make mistakes in dates and numbers.”

In her opinion, the books are simply “not checked” for factual errors.

“There are factual mistakes, distortions of history, as well as open and covert nationalistic and discriminating content which may lead to the strengthening of prejudice and anti-Semitism,” Makowka-Kwapisiewicz said.

A detailed report is to be published in January.

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