Polish spokeswoman: 'We were Holocaust victims'

'Poland has never done anything that could hurt another country; we were the victims of World War II.'

Mordechai Sones,

Sign at Auschwitz in German and Polish
Sign at Auschwitz in German and Polish
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In an interview with television network TVP1, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said that he did not understand why there is a need to change the law that denies Polish involvement in the Holocaust of the Jewish people.

"I don't see a reason why Poland should change the wording of the law. It is intended to stop the campaign of defamation against Poland for its alleged involvement in the Holocaust," said the Foreign Minister.

Czaputowicz also referred to Israel's strong criticism of the law, adding that "the critical voices that appeared recently are not justified. The only thing we can do is explain coolly and calmly what the purpose of the law is and talk to our partners at the diplomatic level and through social dialogue. The Polish parliament is sovereign and is not influenced by foreign pressures."

The Polish Foreign Minister stressed that the new law should not limit freedom of academic research, and would not prevent publication of studies that might blame the Poles for some of the crimes committed during the Holocaust.

Polish government spokeswoman Joanna Kopcińska said that no changes were being made to the original law, despite the public debate between Israel and Poland over the bill.

"Poland can not give in to a wave of comments describing Poland and the Polish people in a false light: Poland never carried out acts that could harm another country, we were the victims in World War II, and although we were attacked we provided aid and rescue to others," Kopcińska said.

The Jews did not have a country during the period of the Holocaust, but over 3 million were Polish citizens, with Jewish life in Poland going back over a thousand years. Poles suffered greatly in WWII, but many also took part in anti-Semitic acts against their Jewish neighbors, of whom barely 10% survived.

Israel's ambassador to Poland, Anna Azri, said in an interview with the Polish press that "she hopes that the tension between Israel and Poland can be solved by working groups from the two countries who will conduct a dialogue on the subject."

(For historian Dr. Inna Rogatchi's thorough review of the subject, click here.)

Jewish cemetery in Lodz, Poland
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