Antisemitic conspiracy theories at Polish nationalist protest of Holocaust law
New York – large group of Polish nationalists took over a major square in downtown Manhattan on Sunday, protesting U.S. legislation that seeks to compensate Holocaust survivors whose property was seized during World War II.
The marchers were draped in Polish flags and carried signs opposing bill SS47, which became law in May 2018. The law calls for the return of property “wrongfully seized or transferred” or “the provision of comparable substitute property or the payment of equitable compensation” for Holocaust survivors and the families of victims.
But bystanders and anti-fascist activists reported that the protesters were not only condemning S447, but also carrying antisemitic placards and repeating Holocaust-denial conspiracy theories.
Hundreds of nationalists took their place in Foley Square, three blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall. Some of the crowds’ signs said: “Stop anti-Polish hate,” “Stop slandering Poland in the media,” and “Treat anti-Polonism like antisemitism.”
Other attendees held placards proclaiming that the Holocaust was a Nazi German project, and that the infamous death camps built in Poland, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, were German and not Polish. They also lauded the efforts of the anti-Nazi Home Army, which was the driving force between the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising in which Christian and Jewish Poles rose up against Nazi occupiers in the national capital. The following year, Poles launched the Warsaw uprising that also failed to liberate the city.
But according to video of the event and the accounts of activists in a counterprotest, some of the participants were also perpetuating antisemitic stereotypes and repeating Holocaust denial myths. One man could be seen holding a sign with the words “Holocaust Industry.”