In an attempt to promote a new law censoring how people speak and write about Poland’s relationship to the Holocaust, Poland has rolled out a series of social media campaigns that seek to change the narrative of Polish compliance with the Nazi regime. Part of the campaign is an advertisement that is being shown as sponsored content on YouTube, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
We have talked about the law itself a few times in class, so I won’t go into details about that here, but I first heard about the shocking ad when someone I follow on Tumblr wrote a post saying they saw the ad and were confused by it. Here is the post, as well as some of the responses giving context to the ad.
To add to the strangeness, the advertisement is not just being shown in America. The other country it can currently be found in is Israel, meaning that the two countries with the largest Jewish populations in the world are the target audience of the ad. In spite of the falsehoods it presents, the video doesn’t actually violate any of the social media websites’ advertising policies and so it will continue to show on some of the most widely used social media available
In class we have discussed the different approaches to shaping the individual survivors’ narratives, and to me this seems like a slap in the face to anyone who experienced atrocities in Poland or at the hands of Poles. In trying to re-frame the narrative to make their country look better the creators of this law and this advertisement are completely invalidating the experiences of survivors. This feels like gas-lighting on a massive scale, and I can’t even begin to explain how surreal it feels for Jewish people to have something like this pop up as they’re trying to watch distracting YouTube videos.
Here is a link to a Vice article on the subject as well: