What Controversies Is This Polish History Textbook Spurring?

Published August 30th, 2022 - 10:27 GMT
What Controversies Is This Polish History Textbook Spurring?

A new history textbook published in Poland has ignited nationwide backlash after readers traced several controversial remarks made throughout it.

The book highlights several historical events that took place worldwide between 1945–1979 and is written by Wojciech Roszkowski, an economic historian, writer, and former member of the European Parliament.

Since the book Historia i Teraźniejszość (History and present) has been approved by the Polish Ministry of Education as an obligatory reading in secondary schools, thousands of Polish people have been commenting on its content and expressing varied views towards it as an "educational" source.

Critics of the book have attacked selecting it for school curriculum, saying Wojciech Roszkowski is "known for his anti-western values" and "right-wing views". Some people also deemed the book as "highly politicized and opinionated for a history book".

Commentators who came in the book's defense argued that it was well-researched and that it is not meant to guide students of history, but to offer one perspective for students to challenge, debate, and further research.

Controversies in Historia i Teraźniejszość

- One of the controversial remarks made in the book is Roszkowski's belief that kids who are born through In vitro fertilization technologies known as IVF are "not as loved by their parents".

This remark has urged a Polish father who has had his daughter through IVF to sue the writer Wojciech Roszkowski and the minister of education. 

- "Women work for a higher social image and end up neglecting their houses" and equating feminism to Nazisim. 

Mayors of the south-eastern Polish town of Ustrzyki Doln and the town of Dabrowa Gornicza have announced a ban on teaching the book in schools under their administration. 

Wojciech Roszkowski is the former vice-rector of the Warsaw School of Economics and has previously headed the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

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