Polish president Andrzej Duda
Polish president Andrzej Duda Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90

During the EJA symposium on 75th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Germany Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in Cracow, the Chancellery of the President of Poland, Minister Wojciech Kolarski presented the following message from President of Poland, Andrzej Duda:

I cordially greet all those who came to Krakow for the symposium, organized by the European Jewish Association and the Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland. Thank you to the initiators and everyone who responded to the invitation to celebrate together the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

This year, upcoming celebrations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day Perhaps it is the last one with the survivors of the Holocaust in such numbers. In view of the passing away of the last witnesses of this greatest crime in the history of humanity, which consumed six million Jews, among them three million Polish Jews, Polish citizens, it is we the next generations will be obliged to cultivate the memory and protect the truth about what happened in places like Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The material evidence of the crimes of the Third Reich, especially in places such as "death factories" built by the Nazis, will have increasing importance. As the President of the Republic of Poland - which first fell victim to German aggression attack on September 1, 1939, and started the World War II - together with all the authorities of the Polish state and my countrymen, I take responsibility for preserving both the places where the Holocaust took place and the memory of its victims.

We, the Poles, are guardians of historical truth, which is widely known here due to our school education and as a direct testimony from our parents, grandparents and fellow citizens. In our country, occupied by Germany for more than five years, the whole society was subjected to mass terror, persecution and extermination. In the most terrible way it affected the Jews, who were sentenced by the Third Reich to total annihilation. The suffering inflicted on them in ghettos and camps, transports and places of execution frighten them with cruelty and ruthlessness as the Germans pushed hatred, contempt and anti-Semitism and racism to new heights.

The German occupiers sought to break both personal solidarity and brotherhood ties between the Poles and Jews. Numerous Poles, despite threatening repression, tried to save Jews and many of them died together with the rescued. They were immediately punished by death for disobedience to Nazi regulations. They are ours national heroes because, acting in secret, they defended the highest values of our homeland.

We are responsible for the remembering and passing - the knowledge of all those tragic experiences that have become common experience for Jews and Poles in those terrible times - onto our children and the world. This is our duty to victims and survivors of the Holocaust and those who saved them and died with them. But it is also an expression of our responsibility for the future of our both peoples and all humanity.

We cannot allow the memory and truth about the Holocaust to be blurred and forgotten. We must do everything in our power to make it clear and understood throughout our future generations. This dramatic heritage always carries the current warning to people of all ages: no more chauvinism, hatred and contempt ! That is why I am convinced that Poles and Jews will always stand together to guard the memory and truth about the Holocaust and all its victims.

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