Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem Eliran Aharon

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem criticized the newest version of the Polish Holocaust Law as well as the joint statement by the governments of Poland and Israel on the amended law which was issued last week.

"A thorough review by Yad Vashem historians shows that the historical assertions, presented as unchallenged facts, in the joint statement contain grave errors and deception," Yad Vashem said in a statement Thursday. "The essence of the statute remains unchanged even after the repeal of the aforementioned sections, including the possibility of real harm to researchers, unimpeded research, and the historical memory of the Holocaust.”

According to Yad Vashem, the joint statement by the Israeli and Polish government's created a false picture of the Polish government in exile during World War Two as having acted "to thwart the extermination of Polish Jewry" when in reality "the Polish Government-in-Exile, based in London, as well as the Delegatura (the representative organ of this Government in occupied Poland) did not act resolutely on behalf of Poland’s Jewish citizens at any point during the war. Much of the Polish resistance in its various movements not only failed to help Jews, but was also not infrequently actively involved in persecuting them.”

The Yad Vashem statement was issued following the publication of the joint statement translated into Hebrew in ads in Israeli newspapers Thursday morning. Last week, the museum called the amendment to the Holocaust Law a "step in the right direction," while Prof. Yehuda Bauer, academic adviser to the Yad Vashem state museum on the Holocaust, accused Poland of "making fools of" the Israeli government with the joint statement.

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) attacked Netanyahu following the declaration: "Netanyahu's disgrace in the remembrance of the Holocaust at the expense of the State of Israel and the Jewish people as a whole will be remembered forever."

"The gap between Netanyahu's speeches and his surrender agreements has become clear again, and the perpetrator of the Holocaust has given moral validity in the name of the Jewish people to a horrific historical distortion," she said. "The Poles proved that they see in Netanyahu a tool to polish their past."

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid also said that "the announcement Netanyahu signed with the Polish prime minister is a scandalous disgrace and disgrace to the memory of those killed and he must announce that he is canceling it immediately. 200 thousand Jews were murdered in the Holocaust by Poles and Netanyahu signs a declaration that cleanses the Poles and humiliates the memory of those who perished."

Meretz Chairman MK Tamar Zandberg added, "Netanyahu signed a letter that the great anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers would sign, and he gave them legitimacy and sold the history of our people for a pot of lentils."

"Netanyahu and the Polish prime minister are part of a disgraceful phenomenon in which Netanyahu and the Likud are joining forces with anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi parties in the world, and Netanyahu is abandoning the Jewish communities in Europe and the memory of those who perished in the massacre. "Netanyahu gave legitimacy to these people today, and it is unbelievable that the prime minister of Israel is simply willing to sell the history of our people for this nonsense and to harm in this manner the millions murdered on Polish soil," Zandberg said.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said: "The joint statement by the Prime Minister of Israel and the Prime Minister of Poland regarding the responsibility of Poles in the Holocaust is disgraceful, full of lies and distortions, and it desecrates the memory of many Jews murdered by Poles."

"The statement describes a so-called systematic action by the Polish government-in-exile and the Polish undergrounds for help and assistance to the Jewish people, which is not compatible with reality," he said. “These activities were few and not central.”

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