The amendment to Act on the Institute of National Remembrance was speedily backed by the lower house of the Sejm (Polish parliament), the Senate and was signed by the President. The Act read: “Whoever accuses, publicly and against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich… shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years.” However, a person “is not committing a crime if he or she commits such an act as part of artistic or scientific activities”. The legislation was partially inspired to prevent the use of the offensive and inaccurate phrase “Polish death camps” in international media and use by international organisations. Now people can use that phrase without any consequences. During World War Two, Poland was under the brutal occupation of the German Nazi and (Russian) Soviet regimes. The Germans designed and operated the camps in what was then Nazi-occupied Poland.
The Chopin International Piano Festival in the heart of Warsaw was created thanks to a passion and love for music. The concerts take place is the Church of the Holy Trinity in Warsaw. In it in 1825, Fryderyk Chopin performed before Tsar Alexander I and received a diamond ring from the Tsar himself. The idea of the festival has delighted musicians, photographers, artists and people of science alike, and has engaged animators and managers of culture, music lovers, clergy, social workers, as well as donors and volunteers. They have given us their work and support. The dome of the Church of the Holy Trinity is the one of the largest in Europe, which gives it great acoustics and has been used as a concert hall for many years. As is the custom, there is no admission charge for the concerts.
According to the Polish National Council of the Judiciary, Poland as a Christian nation, cannot allow itself to have a Civil Partnership Act. The result is that citizens who do not share Christian beliefs, as referred to in the Constitution, are ignored by the authorities. “Everyone has the right to happiness and love, and has the right to be treated equally in such a democratic state as Poland is,” said Katarzyna Lubnauer, when in April, her Modern party submitted a draft law on civil partnerships for both hetero and homosexual couples. However, the Polish National Council of the Judiciary considered it as being inconsistent with the Constitution saying that “Poland is a democratic state but with a Christian culture”. According to the head of the National Judicial Leszek Mazur a draft law on civil partnerships can lead to the creation of a society like that proposed by Aldous Huxley in “Brave New World”, a world where there are no families, people are encouraged to have sex with multiple partners and emotions are suppressed by drugs.
Polish emigrants particularly like travelling to Great Britain for work. Better salaries and higher social privileges encourage Poles to move to the UK. Some of them, however, feel too comfortable abroad and their behaviour does not reflect well on Poland. The residents and councillors from Shirebrook in Derbyshire have been complaining about Polish people who are noisy, drink alcohol in public and often leave a mess. After work small groups of Polish people often get together in the town centre, where they hang out until the late hours drinking alcohol, being noise and urinating in public. Their behaviour arouses widespread disgust, especially among women and children. “Drinking alcohol in public seems to be a part of Polish and Lithuanian culture. We have to do our best to teach them how to drink responsibly,” said Brian Murray-Carr, Shirebrook councillor. The employers of these Polish people are cooperating with the police and intend to organise courses for them in the canteen to teach them about generally accepted norms in the area in order to eliminate the problem of alcohol abuse in public places. “It’s not easy to change their habits, especially because of the language barrier but we have made huge progress in terms of regular patrols near the town centre. I believe the situation will soon change,” the councillor said.
The Law and Justice (PiS) government is consistently carrying out a reform of the Polish judiciary. After many demonstrations which took place a year ago, President Andrzej Duda vetoed the controversial acts and prepared his own bills. On 3 July, the Supreme Court Act will come into effect and make possible, among others, the retirement of the current judges of the Supreme Court. Opposition groups have been protesting against this and the case even came to the attention of Brussels. The EU has threatened to take action to defend law and order in Poland. However, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has highlighted many times that the “changes we made were coordinated with the President and Vice-President of the European Commission, and have been taken at an appropriate pace from beginning to end.” The PiS government therefore continues to wonder why there are concerns when they were consulted throughout the process.
The British newspaper published a supplement dedicated to Poland and Polish people. The Guardian special report includes four articles about graduates of British universities, Saturday schools for Polish children in Ely, the situation Polish people after Brexit and Polish grocery shops. Traditional Polish dishes and products make their way into the supplement including kopytka (potato noodles), kabanosy (sausages), doughnuts and gherkins with the main dish pierogi (dumplings) being much loved by British people. The Poles in the UK make up the largest minority, and according to the British statistical office 916,000 Poles reside in the UK and approximately 5,200 Poles study at British universities (Higher Education Statistics Agency). The Guardian also describes three Poles who after graduating from British universities decided to return to Poland: Jakub Bochiński from the Warsaw office of the European Space Agency, Tomasz Szatkowski, the Defence deputy minister and Marta Poslad who works in Warsaw’s Google Office.
Almost 40% of those surveyed think that Polish President Andrzej Duda is violating the Constitution while 31% disagree with the rest unable to answer the question. According to the Rzeczpospolita survey, men (46%) and those with a higher education (44%) more often claim that the President is violating the Constitution. About 50% of people with a net income of PLN 2000-3000, those from the largest cities and people over the age of 50 also believe that Andrzej Duda is violating the Constitution. Among people up to the age of 24, only one quarter believes the President is not keeping with the Constitution. The survey undertaken taken by SW Research for Rzeczpospolita was carried out on 800 persons. All talk of Duda violating the Constitution came following a comment by Duda’s advisor Zofia Romaszewska who said, “President Duda does not violate…,” she began, but then said, “Speaking of violating, the President violates the Constitution far less than they [the opposition] had been”.