Holocaust survivors and their Polish passports – a saga of refusals

Professor Aaron Seidenberg was born in 1943, in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a citizen of Poland, even though his Polish homeland was in ruins, under German occupation. Saved by a Polish family and miraculously reunited with his mother, an Auschwitz Death March survivor, he emigrated to Israel. For more than 15 years, Professor Seidenberg has been unsuccessfully attempting to regain his Polish citizenship, being confronted with numerous obstacles, both legal and political. The proposed paper analyses the official (and “backstage”) reasons for refusing many Holocaust survivors their right to have their Polish citizenship confirmed. It attempts to argue that this policy of refusals should be reversed as the tragic heritage of Jewish presence in Poland must prevail over administrative restrictions. The paper also raises the question of the role of memory and the past in shaping national laws which impact the rights of those who lived through the unimaginable crime of the Holocaust.