Jan Grabowski appeared on the cover of a right-wing Polish magazine at the end of May. The face of the Polish-born historian took up a large amount of the cover, against the background of a threatening black-and-white photograph from the period of World War II. “A Lie Without Punishment,” blared the headline of the mass-circulation newsweekly Do Rzeczy, and the subhead added, “In his book about the ‘Blue’ Police, Jan Grabowski again accuses the Poles of having taken part in the Holocaust.”
“Who said history is a boring profession?” Grabowski, 57, thought when he saw the text on the magazine cover, which called for him to be brought to justice. Subsequently he published a Facebook post in which he shared with his students, colleagues and readers around the world the latest chapter in the saga of incitement that the Polish right wing has been conducting against him in recent years, since he became one of the leading names in the field of crimes committed by Poles in the Holocaust.
“As you can imagine, Do Rzeczy is unhappy with my work,” wrote Grabowski. “Needless to say, I will not read the article in question, but I am glad that the book has had its impact not only among the more enlightened readers but also among those, who prefer to build their historical identity on historical fallacies and myths. Who knows, perhaps some of them will even read the ‘dangerous material’?”
The “dangerous material” is his new book, published recently in Poland, titled, “Na Posterunku. Udział polskiej policji granatowej i kryminalnej w zagladzie Zydów,” forthcoming in English later this year as “On Duty: The Role of Polish ‘Blue’ and Criminal Police in the Holocaust.”