Polish President Andrzej Duda blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz in an interview with Kan 11 News’ Amichai Stein, which aired on Monday.
Duda, who cancelled his participation at an event in Jerusalem marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in protest at not being allowed to make a speech there, said that the main event marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz would be held in Poland in the presence of 200 survivors from around the world.
"As far as I’m concerned, the main event is here. Maybe I would have come so they won't tell me I'm boycotting such events. But the real event has to be here," Duda argued.
"I believe, and I have always believed, that these events on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day should take place in Auschwitz and that this is the most important place to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust," he added. "So this year, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation, the same international events, which President Reuven Rivlin will attend by the way, will be held on the grounds of the Auschwitz camp."
Duda attacked Russian President Vladimir Putin, who recently claimed that Poland cooperated with the Nazis during World War II. "I'm sorry to say this, but Putin is spreading lies. He is doing this with the goal of removing Stalin's Russia responsibility for starting the war jointly with Nazi Germany. I assumed he is ashamed of that."
The Polish President also voiced sharp criticism of Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, who said last year that Poles “suckle anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk.” Duda said he did not intend to meet a man who made such a statement until he apologizes for it.
"There are Jews who were born in Poland before World War II and survived the Holocaust, who think Poland and the Poles deserve an apology. I have no doubt that these words were very offensive towards us and our country," he said.