(February 18, 2018 / JNS) In an ongoing dispute over the passage of a Polish law criminalizing any terms linking Poland to the heinous crimes of the Holocaust, Israeli officials expressed outrage on Saturday night following remarks by Polish Prime Minister Masteusz Morawiecki suggesting that some Jews also participated in perpetrating crimes of the Holocaust.
When asked by a reporter from the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot at the Munich Security Conference, whether recounting one’s own family history would be punishable under the new law, Moraweicki responded, stating, “Of course, it’s not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian; not only German perpetrators.”
Morawiecki added that Poles were mostly of help to their “Jewish brothers and sisters” during the war.
The comments sparked new outrage in Israel, following diplomatic debates between Israel and Poland over whether the new Polish ruling was a form of Holocaust denial.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also attending the security conference, said that “the Polish prime minister’s remarks here in Munich are outrageous. There is a problem here of an inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people. I intend to speak with him forthwith.”
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely also responded, saying that “the statements by Poland’s prime minister are grave and warrant an apology to the Jewish people for distorting the memory of the Holocaust.”
“We cannot accept such outrageous comparisons,” Hotovely added, noting that she would convene an emergency meeting at the foreign ministry to discuss Israel’s response.