Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, said that the current diplomatic spat with Poland is no cause for panic.
"The distortion of the Holocaust throughout Eastern Europe is a serious thing," he told Arutz Sheva. For the last 25 years they have been trying to rewrite the narrative of the Holocaust. They are not denying it, but they are trying to minimize the role played by local collaborators."
He noted that Eastern European citizens were full partners in the murder of the Jews. "If in Western Europe the cooperation ended at the railway station or in the port where the Jews were sent and murdered by others, then in Eastern Europe the locals were integrated into the extermination system when most of the murders were carried out by shooting. There were, of course, some Poles who saved Jews."
"The problem was the addition of Minister Katz, who actually called all the Poles anti-Semites," Zuroff said, "It is not accurate and quite insulting to say that all the Poles have drunk anti-Semitism with their mother's milk. I would expect someone sitting on the Foreign Minister's chair not to make such sweeping statements that are insulting."
"Even so, there is no doubt that the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister described an accurate situation: 200,000 Jews were murdered in Poland or by the Poles directly or were given over to the Nazis to be murdered. What added fuel to the fire now is the fact that both countries are in the midst of an election season. The Poles expect their elected officials to act, and Bibi, who likes to present himself as the defender of the Jews, will clearly say things during this sort of time that he has avoided saying until now."
Zuroff hopes that the determined struggle against those who try to distort the memory of the Holocaust will continue. "In our opinion, we do not have to sell the memory of the Holocaust and we should not say that we want to have good relations with them, but insist that they stop lying and saying that the crimes of communism are as bad as the crimes of the Holocaust."