Israel's embassy in Poland receives wave of antisemitic messages after Holocaust bill

"We hope that over 30 years of work and dedication of wonderful people, both in Poland and in Israel, will not be in vain."

February 2, 2018 18:52
2 minute read.
Israel's embassy in Poland receives wave of antisemitic messages after Holocaust bill

Ambassador of Israel to Poland Anna Azari attends a commemoration event in the so-called "Sauna" building at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau, January 27, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/KACPER PEMPEL)


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Ambassador to Warsaw Anna Azari said on Friday that there has been a wave of antisemitic verbal attacks in Poland in the days following the passage of a bill that would make it criminal to suggest that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.

“In the last few days we could not help but notice a wave of antisemitic statements, reaching the embassy through all channels of communication,” the embassy said, adding that Azari was personally targeted in many of the messages.

While Krzysztof Czabanski, head of the National Media Council, said that “there is no place for antisemitic statements on the public media,” the embassy said that the problem is on-going.

“We would like to use this opportunity to repeat that Israel stands with Poland in using the proper term for the death camps – ‘German Nazi camps,’” the embassy statement read. “We hope that over 30 years of work and dedication of wonderful people, both in Poland and in Israel, will not be in vain and that we will be able to cooperate in an atmosphere of dialogue and shared understanding.”

Also, over the weekend, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel tweeted, “I have organized for 15 years as a group leader of youth trips to Auschwitz and Majdanek. That these camps were German – there can be no doubt about that! The use of the term ‘Polish death camp’ is incorrect.’”
Israel urges Poland to change bill regarding its role in Nazi Holocaust, January 28, 2018 (Reuters)

Poland is seeing a resurgence of antisemitism over the legislation that would impose jail terms for suggestions that the nation was complicit in the Holocaust, local minority groups warned, as pressure mounts on President Andrzej Duda to veto the bill.

The bill would impose prison sentences of up to three years for mentioning the term “Polish death camps” and for suggesting “publicly and against the facts” complicity on the part of the Polish nation or state in Nazi Germany’s crimes.

More than three million of Poland’s 3.2 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their helpers, accounting for about half of the Jews killed in the Holocaust. Jews from across Europe were sent to be killed at death camps built and operated by the Germans on Polish soil, including Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.

According to figures from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Nazis also killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians.

In a rare show of unity, Polish minority and ethnic groups, including Jewish, Ukrainian and Russian organizations, urged Duda and other authorities to counteract all forms of xenophobia, intolerance and antisemitism, although they did not directly call on the president to veto the bill.

“Our particular concern and objection is caused by the numerous and loud manifestations of antisemitism that we have been witnessing this week after the [parliament] passed [the Holocaust bill],” the groups said in statement.

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