Israeli cartoon raises Polish protest

Polish embassy: Holocaust cartoon depicts Poles as "vicious and drunk."

A Polish embassy official complained Thursday about a Holocaust cartoon feature in an Israeli newspaper last month, charging it depicted Poles in an unfavorable light. The Ha'aretz daily ran the cartoon before last month's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day. It depicted the story of the artist's mother escaping from Poland during World War II. One of the frames pictures Polish passengers on a train, many with drinks in their hands, harassing the young woman. The cartoons were republished in the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita on Thursday and caused an outrage, according to Piotr Trobniak, a spokesman for the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv. "It describes the Poles as vicious drunks and in a negative way. They look very ugly and not nice. This is a very difficult issue," Trobniak told the Associated Press. The editor of the Ha'aretz supplement that printed the cartoon feature, Nir Becher, denied the charges. "We aren't saying anything against the Polish people as a whole," he said. "This is a description of the people who were there at that moment in time, according to testimony of the woman who was there." The Polish complaint charged that cartoons were an inappropriate way to depict the Holocaust, but Becher said the cartoon was a literary tool that was used because there were so many other stories on the subject. Six million Jews were killed by Nazis during World War II, many of them in death camps built in Poland. Among the victims were most of the 3.5 million Jews who lived in Poland.