Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki defended his country’s controversial new law concerning the Holocaust by acknowledging on Saturday that there were Polish perpetrators in the same way there were Jewish perpetrators.
At the Munich Security Conference, Ronen Bergman, a journalist for Israeli news Yediot Ahranot questioned Morawiecki about the new law which criminalizes talk of Poles’ complicity in Nazis’ crimes. Bergman noted that his mother was a holocaust survivor who had barely escaped after her Polish neighbors planned to turn her over to the Gestapo. He questioned whether relating her experiences which implicated Poland in the Holocaust would be considered in violation of the law.
Morawiecki replied that his government would not prosecute people who claimed some Poles participated in the Holocaust.
Morawiecki responded, “It’s not going to 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 Ukraine and German perpetrators.”
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He emphasized that the Nazi death camps, most of which were located in Poland, were not, in fact, Polish.
“There were no Polish death camps… There were German Nazi death camps,” Morawiecki said.
Morawiecki explained the law was aimed to prevent falsely attributing Nazi crimes in Poland under Nazi occupation to Polish government policy at the time. He said that last year Polish embassies had to respond 260 times to statements referring to “Polish death camps.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Morawiecki’s statement as being “outrageous”.
“There is a problem here of a misunderstanding of history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people. I plan to talk to him soon,” Netanyahu said.
This is not the first time this type of statement claiming Jewish responsibility for the Holocaust was made by a Polish official.
Last week, an adviser to Polish President Andrzej Duda, Andrzej Zybertowicz wrote on Twitter: “Yes, many Poles were complicit in the Nazi crimes. And I regret this very much. But isn’t there also the truth that many Jews were complicit in the Nazi crimes?”
More than three million Polish Jews, over 90 percent of the pre-war Jewish population, was killed in the Holocaust.
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Source: Israel in the News