Poland: Scholar questioned over claim Poles killed more Jews than they did Germans during World War II
A Polish prosecutor has interrogated Jan Gross, a Polish-American professor of history at Princeton University
19 Apr 16
Polish scholar Jan Gross (Princeton)

Polish scholar Jan Gross (Princeton)

Jan Gross (Princeton)

Jan Gross (Princeton)

A Polish prosecutor has interrogated Jan Gross, a Polish-American professor of history at Princeton University, to determine whether claims he made that Poles “had killed more Jews than the Germans” during World War II constitute a crime.

Insulting the nation is punishable by up to three years in jail in Poland.

“The ability to question established narratives is vital to academic freedom and a free and progressive society,” Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said.

Gross, who has researched Polish complicity in the Holocaust, said he was questioned as a witness for five hours on Tuesday 12 April in the district attorney’s office in Katowice but has not been charged with a crime.

Complaints were filed by Polish citizens over Gross’ claims, which were made in an article published in Project Syndicate last September. In it, the historian also argued that Poland’s opposition to accepting asylum seekers could be linked to its “murderous past”.

“I said straight out that I was not going to offend the Polish nation,” Gross told the Associated Press regarding his recent questioning. “I tried to make people aware of the problem of refugees in Europe. I’m just telling the truth, and the truth sometimes has the effect of shock on people who previously were not aware of the case.”

In February Index reported that Polish President Andrzej Duda considered stripping Gross of an Order of Merit over his academic work on Polish anti-Semitism. Gross outlined in his 2001 book Neighbors that the massacre of some 1,600 Jews from the Polish village of Jedwabne in July 1941 was committed by Poles, not Nazis.

By Ryan McChrystal

Assistant Online Editor at Index on Censorship Ryan McChrystal is Assistant Editor, Online at Index on Censorship, where he provides support for the news and online team in addition to creating content. He has previously held various editorial roles, including as a local reporter, a market reporter and most recently as a features writer at an SME-focused magazine. He graduated in history and politics from Queen’s University, Belfast. Contact: [email protected] | public key