My government wants to ban accusations of Polish wartime complicity for the sake of honoring history.

Nazi'lerin toplama kampı, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Polonya
A visitor is seen behind the lettering “Arbeit macht frei” (work makes you free) at the entrance of the memorial site of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, on January 25, 2015. Seventy years after it was liberated, 300 Auschwitz survivors — most now in their nineties — will on January 27, 2015 return to the former Nazi death camp, the site of the largest single number of murders committed during World War II. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

World War II altered not only the fate of nations but also that of millions of families in Europe. From the viewpoint of Poland, it was the end of a multicultural, multiethnic world that had flourished for more than seven centuries. The borders of prewar Poland in the east included cities such as Nowogrodek, Rowne, and Stanislawow.

Nowogrodek was the birthplace of Adam Mickiewicz, one of the greatest ever Polish poets, who was personally involved in the process of creating a Jewish legion as part of his efforts to fight for Polish independence in the 19th century. Rowne was the birthplace of the mother of Israeli author Amos Oz, whose novel A Tale of Love and Darkness inspired actress Natalie Portman to make a brilliant movie about Israel’s difficult beginnings seen through the lens of a family of Polish Jews. As for Stanislawow, it is a place close to my heart. My mother’s family comes from this city, which is now called Ivano-Frankivsk and lies within Ukrainian borders.


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The world my mother knew ended when Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia invaded Poland in 1939. In Stanislawow, my close family rescued Jews; the

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