ACRL Supports AHA Statement Condemning Polish Law Criminalizing Public Discussion of Polish Complicity in Nazi War Crimes

At the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, the ACRL Board of Directors signed on to an American Historical Association (AHA) statement condemning Polish law criminalizing public discussion of Polish complicity in Nazi war crimes. Issued in February 2018, the statement strongly condemns the bill drafted by the Polish legislature and signed into law by Polish 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 AHA statement views the new law as a threat both to historians’ freedom of speech and to the future of historical scholarship, which depends upon open inquiry and the pursuit of impartial truth. ACRL is one of more than 30 organizations to show support by signing on to the AHA statement.