“A hate crime is any criminal act that targets a victim; buildings, or other targets based on their actual or alleged connection, relationship, affiliation, membership or providing support to a group singled out due to specific characteristics common to its members, such as actual or perceived race, nationality or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, gender, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation or other similar characteristics.”
Source: Ministry of Interior, analysis of hate crime, Warsaw 2016 p. 2
The Polish Criminal Code does not define hate crime, but individual provisions indicate selected criminal behaviour.
Since 2011, the Polish Police and the Ministry of Interior have used a working definition based on the OSCE definition, according to which a hate crime is an act prohibited by law, motivated by bias.
Here are some examples of the most often occurring hate crimes covered by the Polish Criminal Code:
§ 2. Anyone who publicly incites to the commission of a crime shall be punished by imprisonment for up to 3 years.
§ 3. Anyone who publicly praises the commission of a crime shall be subject to a fine of up to 180 daily rates, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to one year.
“Hate speech is, in particular, statements propagating, promoting, or inciting, in any form, slander or hatred towards a person or group of people, as well as any harassment, insult, negative stereotyping, stigmatisation or threats about such a person or groups of people and justifying all previous types of statements based on race, colour, origin, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation and other personal characteristics or status.”
There is no single and generally accepted definition of hate speech. Our methodology is based on the definition of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which was modified and updated in 2015 by the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (General Policy Recommendation, p. 3)
Examples of international definitions of hate speech:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Working Definition of Antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), adopted on May 26, 2016, by 31 member states - including Poland.
Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
Holocaust denial is discourse and propaganda that deny the historical reality and the extent of the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War II, known as the Holocaust or the Shoah. Holocaust denial refers specifically to any attempt to claim that the Holocaust/Shoah did not take place.
Holocaust denial may include publicly denying or calling into doubt the use of principal mechanisms of destruction (such as gas chambers, mass shooting, starvation and torture) or the intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people.
Holocaust denial in its various forms is an expression of antisemitism. The attempt to deny the genocide of the Jews is an effort to exonerate National Socialism and antisemitism from guilt or responsibility in the genocide of the Jewish people. Forms of Holocaust denial also include blaming the Jews for either exaggerating or creating the Shoah for political or financial gain as if the Shoah itself was the result of a conspiracy plotted by the Jews. In this, the goal is to make the Jews culpable and antisemitism once again legitimate.
The goals of Holocaust denial often are the rehabilitation of an explicit antisemitism and the promotion of political ideologies and conditions suitable for the advent of the very type of event it denies.
Distortion of the Holocaust refers, inter alia, to:
The definition was accepted by Poland in 2013 as part of its membership in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance / International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).