In 1938, 24-year-old Jakub Piekarz left the small town of Jedwabne in eastern Poland for the United States. Three years later, just after the Red Army had withdrawn and the Wehrmacht had invaded the town, Jedwabne’s Jews, including Mr. Piekarz’s parents, were murdered by their Polish neighbors.

In 2000, the historian Jan Tomasz Gross published a book about the massacre; what followed was the most important debate on the Holocaust to take place in post-Communist Europe. Mr. Piekarz (by then Rabbi Baker) died in 2006. […] It was the publication of Mr. Gross's "Neighbors" that motivated the first attempts, in 2006 during the first Law and Justice government, to enshrine historical policy by criminalizing the denial that Poles were innocent of any Nazi or Communist crimes. […]

Among Freud’s unpleasant messages is this: What threatens us is never securely outside of ourselves. Historical policy — like nationalism more broadly, in Poland as elsewhere — serves as an evasion of responsibility, an attempt at psychic consolation through the exporting of guilt, a desire to find a safe place in the world.

"Poland digs itself into a dark hole", Marci Shore, The New York Times, 05/02/18