Backlash Against Poland After Prime Minister States That There Were Jewish Perpetrators in the Holocaust

Poland’s Prime Minister commented that there were Jewish perpetrators in the Holocaust, resulting in swastikas and profanities being drawn on Poland’s embassy in Israel.

Mateusz Morawiecki made this questionable statement at the Munich Security Conference when talking to an Israeli journalist. The journalist asked if someone would be considered a criminal under the new law if they said there were Polish collaborators in the Holocaust.

The Prime Minister then responded by saying, “It’s extremely important to first understand that, of course, it’s not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators – as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian… not only German perpetrators.”

After criticism, he claimed that it wasn’t an attempt to blame Jewish victims for a “Nazi German perpetrated genocide.”

The conflict occurred after a new Polish law that made it illegal to accuse the Polish state of involvement in Nazi crimes. The law was passed by President Andrzej Duda and Poland’s highest court, and it received negative judgment from Israel.

The law stated that “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.”

Although, it added that a person “is not committing a crime if he or she commits such an act as part of artistic or scientific activities.”

After these comments and disputes, anti-Polish profanities and Swastikas were found drawn on the gates and bulletin boards of a Polish embassy in Tel Aviv. Although a police investigation is in process, there hasn’t been a found culprit for the vandalism.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found the remarks “outrageous” and showed “an inability to understand history.”

He talked to Morawiecki on the phone and, according to Netanyahu’s office, “pointed out that the goal of the Holocaust was to destroy the Jewish people and that all Jews were under sentence of death. He told his Polish counterpart that the distortion regarding Poland could not be corrected by means of another distortion.”

On the other hand, Joanna Kopcinsk, a Polish government spokeswoman, stated that the comments “were by no means intended to deny the Holocaust, or charge the Jewish victims of the Holocaust with responsibility for what was a Nazi German perpetrated genocide.”

Poland stopped using phrases like “Polish death camps” that would imply that they shared Nazi responsibility. Even though they try to erase their involvement from history, Nazi Germany built camps when it invaded Poland in 1939.

Many wonder if the law will consider it criminal for someone to refer to individual instances when Poles worked with Nazis, a huge piece that can’t be denied.

Netanyahu is among many Israelis who are angered by the law and comments, believing it as a way to rewrite history in denial of the events of the Holocaust.

Photo courtesy of Trendsmap

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