My comment on the article Poland tries to extradite woman, 97, on SS charge by Oliver Moody and Maria Wilczek in The Times, 1 January 2021.
There is an article in the same World section of today’s Times about removal of a kneeling slave memorial from Boston in the US, illustrated by a picture of the statue. The slave is crouching in front of an erect figure of Abraham Lincoln.
The current article, in turn, is illustrated by a crowd in front of a towering Soviet monument, Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw erected in the 1950s on orders from Moscow.
There is no plan to remove the monument. Publishing pictures of this building whenever possible is part of the Communist policy. The picture, although not an illustration of the article’s subject, is consistent with the text in the sense of discourse control.
Writing and talking about, and sometimes prosecuting Nazi crimes is fine. The article is equipped with a testimony of one of the victims of Nazism. Good.
Not so with the Communist crimes. The aim is to purge them from memory, history, and public life. The illustration of the article with the picture of the Joseph Stalin memorial is also a clear message that Communism has not collapsed and the power remained in the hands of the same ruling class.
The article mentions “177 Polish women, many of whom had been arrested in the Warsaw Uprising.” They are only mentioned collectively as a nameless and faceless number. The Joseph Stalin memorial picture represents their post-WWII Communist oppressors. Other postwar Communist buildings in the picture were obviously not what those women fought for. Those buildings are symbolically tied to the Communist oppressors, not to the women.
Polish authorities have not tried to do anything remotely resembling prosecution of the Communist crimes. I have an obligation to raise my voice and point this out as child of survivors of Communist concentration camps and more recently a target of campaign against my own family.