Yad Vashem has apologized for videos shown at the recent World Holocaust Forum it hosted, parts of which were historically inaccurate and omitted mention of the Soviet Union’s occupation of large swathes of Polish territory in 1939 and its non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. Recent comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin whitewashing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and accusing Poland of partial responsibility for the Second World War cast a shadow over the Fifth World Holocaust Forum and ended with the Polish president declining an invitation to attend the event. In a letter originally sent to Haaretz, Yad Vashem’s Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research Prof. Dan Michman insisted that the institution was “opposed to efforts at obfuscation and distortion by the political discourse in various countries.” The video in question, “created by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation in cooperation with Yad Vashem,” was entitled “The Holocaust and liberation,” and was shown during the course of the event at Yad Vashem two weeks ago. The video can still be seen on the website of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, and there are several major inaccuracies in it.The principle issue with the video is that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union a month before the outbreak of the war, is entirely missing from the narrative of the video. The agreement was a non-aggression pact which gave Nazi Germany confidence that it would be free to invade Western Europe without the Soviet Union intervening on behalf of Britain and France. It also included a secret protocol that agreed the Soviet Union could invade and annex Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, and Poland partitioned between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. As well as not mentioning the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the video also uses a highly problematic map. The sequence of events demonstrated in the map, which portrays the ever expanding boundaries of Nazi Germany as it invaded the countries of Europe, starts in 1942 and shows Poland as still being free at that time. In reality, Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1 from the west and the Soviet Red Army invaded from the east two weeks later, dividing the country between the two powers. The map also shows the Soviet republic of Belarus clearly demarcated, apparently as an independent state, when in reality the territory the map defines as Belarus was part of the Polish territory occupied by the Soviet Union under the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Although Belarus is ostensibly shown as an independent state, the Soviet republic of Ukraine is not shown at all, even though it had the same status within the Soviet Union as Belarus. Despite the fact that the video does not show the Soviet occupation of Poland, it does however highlight the role of the Soviet Red Army in pushing back the Nazis from Eastern Europe. The annexation of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union and its control of Poland and other states behind the Iron Curtain after the war constitutes an ongoing grievance and continued mistrust of those countries towards post-Soviet Russia, recently highlighted by the Russia-Poland spat over the history of the Second World War. As a function of the timeline distortions in the video and its maps, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and other countries are shown as still being free in 1942, despite the fact that they were overrun and occupied by Nazi Germany by the middle of 1940. Finally, the video’s maps erroneously label the forced-labor, concentration camps of Bergen Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau and Theresienstadt, all located in Germany, as death camps.In a statement to the press on Monday, Prof. Dan Michman, Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research, wrote that the videos presented at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum Holocaust “included a number of inaccuracies that resulted in a partial and unbalanced presentation of the historical facts.”Michman’s statement specifically pointed out the failure of the videos to mention the partition of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union, and said that the maps show incorrect borders between Poland and its neighbors.The statement also noted the mistake regarding the mis-labelling of the concentration camps in Germany.Yad Vashem said that the videos “do not reflect the complexity of the Holocaust and the war, to which Yad Vashem dedicates its ongoing research, with a critical eye, without bias, and open to new findings.”Continued Michman “We apologize for the unfortunate errors in these short films, which do not represent Yad Vashem’s approach to the historical issues portrayed,” and reiterated Yad Vashem’s “ongoing commitment to historical truth, and to research that stands opposed to efforts at obfuscation and distortion by the political discourse in various countries.”Yad Vashem did not state how the inaccuracies in the video were not caught before the high-profile international forum commenced. The World Holocaust Forum Foundation did not respond to a request for comment by The Jerusalem Post regarding the inaccuracies of the video.The World Holocaust Forum Foundation was founded in 2015 by Moshe Kantor, who also heads the European Jewish Congress. Kantor, a Russian businessman and billionaire, was named by the US Treasury Department in 2018 on what became know as the “Putin list” or “Oligarch’s list” of 96 businesspeople and 114 senior political figures who have close ties to the Kremlin and Putin himself, and could face sanctions over Russia’s interference in the 2016 US elections. Speaking to the Post at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem last month, Kantor rejected claims that Putin had...pressured event organizers to keep Polish President Andrzej Duda from speaking at the event. “I never spoke to President Putin about this, never, and neither did the [organizing] administration, not one word,” Kantor said.