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Polish PM says Jews were perpetrators of the Holocaust

Anger as Morawiecki defends new law by blaming Jews for Holocaust

    Polish PM speaking at Munich Security Conference
    Polish PM speaking at Munich Security Conference Getty

    The Polish Prime Minister has been condemned after suggesting yesterday that "Jewish perpetrators" were among those responsible for the Holocaust.

    Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Mateusz Morawiecki was asked by an Israeli reporter whether, under Poland's new law, he could be incriminated for repeating what his survivor grandmother had told him about Polish collaboration with the Gestapo.

    Mr Morawiecki responded by saying " “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.”

    The Polish Prime Minister's comments were met with condemnation by Israeli politicians of all parties. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the words as "outrageous", showing "a lack of understanding of history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people."

    Avi Gabbay, leader of Israel's Labour Party, said: "The blood of millions of Jews cries from the earth of Poland over the distortion of history and the escape from blame. Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and Poles took an active part in their murder."

    Yair Lapid, the son of a Holocaust survivor and the head of Israel’s centrist Yesh Atid party called for Israel to withdraw its ambassador to Poland. "The perpetrators are not the victims”, he said.  “The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder.”

    Hours after his comments, the Polish Prime Minister drew further condemnation after laying a wreath at a memorial to a far-right Polish group, the Holy Cross Mountains Brigade, which collaborated with Nazis during World War Two. 

    Jan Grabiec, spokesman of Poland’s Civic Platform opposition party, condemned both Mr Morawiecki’s comments and memorial visit. He said that the Law and Justice party’s actions had led to Poland being seen in a negative light by the international community “in a way not seen for 30 years”.

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