Netanyahu condemns Polish PM for 'Jewish perpetrators' comment

Cheryl Sanders
February 18, 2018

Prime Minister Morawiecki was asked by reporter Ronen Bergman at the Munich Security Conference in Germany whether, under the new law, the reporter himself could be penalised for telling a story in Poland about his mother who survived the Holocaust and told him that some Poles had collaborated with the Gestapo.

Heated debate over Poland's controversial Holocaust law has reached new levels this week after the Polish prime minister spoke of "Jewish perpetrators" during the Nazi era, causing outrage in Israel. In that speech, he avoided mentioning Morawiecki by name but remembered the 6 million...

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that the comments made by his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki, that Jews were among the perpetrators in the Holocaust, "outrageous" and said they showed "an inability to understand history".

Poland's government said Morawiecki's comments, made at a high-profile security conference in Munich and saying Jews were perpetrators in World War Two as well as Poles and others, were not meant to deny the Holocaust.

"He told him that the remarks that were made were unacceptable and that there was no basis for comparing the actions of Poles during the Holocaust to those of Jews", Netanyahu's office said in an English language statement.

"The Polish prime minister's remarks here in Munich are outrageous".

In a sign of the tension between the two nations, someone painted black swastikas, expletives and the word "murderer" on the entrance to Poland's Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israeli police said Sunday.

"There were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian; not only German perpetrators", Morawiecki said, sparking further Israeli anger.

The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, issued a statement demanding an "immediate retraction and apology" from Poland.

The spokeswoman for Poland's conservative ruling party, Beata Mazurek, insisted that Morawiecki "told the truth that is hard for the Israeli side to accept". Holocaust scholars estimate that Poles might have either killed or helped Germans kill as many as 200,000 Jews. "In these awful times, there were individuals among all nations, who were ready to make gestures of the greatest mercy", the Polish prime minister said.

Earlier in the day, Morawiecki spokeswoman Joanna Kopcinska said the prime minister's response to the journalist's question was "by no means intended to deny the Holocaust".

Hours after his Saturday comments, Morawiecki drew further criticism from Israeli politicians and Jewish groups after he paid his respects at the grave of Polish fighters who collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.

Some 3 million Jews who lived in pre-war Poland were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of all Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Other reports by iNewsToday