The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Monday called for the suspension of a Polish historian who wrote that Jews were also to blame for the Holocaust, weeks ahead of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising's 70th anniversary.
The leading Jewish human rights group, which tracks down Nazi war criminals, demanded the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) "suspend antisemitic member" Professor Krzysztof Jasiewicz who insisted that during the Holocaust, "Jews themselves participated in the murder of their own people..." in a recent article.
"The Academy's august reputation had, last week, been stained with the dark scourge of antisemitism," Dr. Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for International Relations, wrote in a letter addressed to PAN head Michal Kleiber and quoted in a Monday press release.
Referring to the wartime 1941 Jedwabne massacre, in which hundreds of Jews were burned alive inside a barn by their Christian Polish neighbors, Jasiewicz speculated the perpetrators were "motivated by great fear of the Jews."
"These desperate murderers may have told themselves that they were doing terrible things, but that their grandchildren would be grateful to them...," Jasiewicz wrote.
The Wiesenthal Center has demanded that Jasiewicz be condemned to "intellectual exile" over the article, which has also drawn sharp criticism among Polish academics.
The director of the Polish Academy's Institute of Politics, Professor Eugeniusz C. Krol, voiced "shock and consternation" in its wake.
"His statements conjure up the worst associations with the Nazi-era Sturmer," a virule
ntly racist publication in Adolf Hitler's Germany, he said.
From the over six million Jews brutally murdered during the Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis and local collaborators, about half were Polish.
The Jewish state came to a standstill as a siren sounded for two-minutes on Monday morning, marking Holocaust Remembrance Day.