Israel to Punish Soldier Who Blamed Poland for WW2 Atrocities Amid Holocaust Law Tension
An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) army officer will be punished for holding up a sign at Auschwitz-Birkenau claiming Poland was also responsible for the deaths of Jews during the Holocaust.
The IDF reserve officer was visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau with the armyâs Witnesses in Uniform program and held up a piece of paper which read, in Polish, âYou also had a part in this,âIsrael'sArmy Radio reported.
An IDF spokesperson said the action was âserious and contrary to the values of the armyâ and the man would be disciplined, the Times of Israel reported.
A woman with an Israeli flag walks at Auschwitz after the annual March of the Living to commemorate the Holocaust. An IDF soldier will be punished for blamin g Poland for atrocities as tensions simmer over a new law criminalizing claims of Polandâs involvement in Nazi activity.Recommended Slideshows53In Pictures: The Royal Brothers, Prince Harry the Groom and Prince William the Best Man2625 Weird Royal Rules Meghan Markle Must Now Follow51Royal Wedding: 50 Things to Know about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Upcoming Marriage
It comes amid considerable tension between Israel and Warsaw over a Polish bill passed earlier this year which, if finalized, would criminalize claims of Polandâ s involvement in Nazi atrocities. Israel said it would repress debate over Polandâs wartime history.
The bill, passed through Polandâs parliament on January 26, just before Holocaust Remembrance Day, has caused ructions with many countries, including the U.S. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as an âan attempt to rewrite history.â
It aims to stop describing places like Auschwitz as âPolish death camps,â and critics have accused Polandâs government of using the issue to boost its support and appeal to right-wing voters.
Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now
Polish president Andrzej Duda referred the bill to the countryâs constitutional court, which will make a ruling on it later this year.
His top foreign policy adviser, Krzysztof Szczerski, defended it, telling Newsweek that it expressed how, in the view of his Law and Justice party, Jews had been protected by the Polish state until it was occu pied.
He referred to comments by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on a visit to Poland, that no European nation should feel free from responsibility for the atrocities.
âThis is the general perspective, which means not only that focusing on Poland itself, but the general moral position in this context. So I think this bill gave the ground for expressing these differences,â said Szczerski, who also is the Polish president's chief of staff.
âBut from our perspective, we said, âOK, we agree with the facts of individual perpetrators of Poles, but one thing should be kept in mindâ"that the Polish Jews were safe [while] the Polish state existed.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda at a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on April 19. His top foreign adviser, Krzysztof Szczerski, gave Newsweek his defense of a law that would criminalize claiming Poland was also responsible for the deaths of Jews during the Holocaust.
âWhen the Polish state stopped to exist because it was occupied by Germans and Soviets, then the Holocaust started. [While] the Polish state existed, they were protected by the Polish state.
âThat means making the statement that the Polish state was part of the Holocaust as a possibility is simply denying the simple fact that it didnât exist in the moment when the Holocaust happened,â Szczerski told Newsweek on May 11, during his visit to London.
Soon after the bill was passed, Israelâs Foreign Ministry said in a statement: âThe legislation will not help further the exposure of historical truth and may harm freedom of research, as well as prevent discussion of the historical message and legacy of World War II.â
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said that the Germans killed about 3 million Polish Jew s and up to 1.9 million non-Jewish civilians during their occupation of Poland.
The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews said that as it was in other countries the Nazis occupied, a small number of Poles were complicit in atrocities.Source: Google News Poland | Netizen 24 Poland