The documentary Who Will Write Our History opens with the vibrant, flourishing Jewish culture within 1930s Poland. Then, it describes the dehumanizing lies about Jews used as propaganda by Hitler and the Nazis to solidify their power in Germany and the countries they occupied.
A group of Warsaw Jews gathered accounts of daily life under Nazi rule, documenting crimes for prosecution after the war. When it became clear that few if any would survive, their focus was to not let the Nazis write their history. After the war, two-thirds of the material was found under Warsaw’s rubble.
There are eerie similarities between then and now. Objective reporting was called “fake news” (Lügenpresse) by the Nazis, accompanied by censorship and one-party rule. Poland suffered the worst of 20th century ideology–nazism on the right in the 1940s, followed by Soviet communism on the left.
My summary: beware ideologues. Poland then and Ukraine now remind us to love our neighbor by defending human rights, and to love the earth by being gentle with it, which is at minimum to oppose “scorched earth” policies. Tomorrow, Earth Day, will have new meaning for me.