Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki defends ‘Jewish Holocaust perpetrators’ comments

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Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has attempted to downplay his claim that Jews were among the perpetrators of the Holocaust.

During the Munich Security Conference, Mr Morawiecki defended a law which would see jail terms handed down for people who suggested the country was complicit in the Nazi genocides from 1941 to 1945.

And while responding to a direct accusation that Poles had collaborated with the Gestapo, he claimed there were “Jewish perpetrators” just as there were Polish ones.

Swastikas were drawn on the gate of the Polish embassy. Pic: Israeli Police Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki defends 'Jewish Holocaust perpetrators' comments Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki defends ‘Jewish Holocaust perpetrators’ comments skynews polish embasy tel aviv 4234621
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Swastikas were drawn on the gate of the Polish embassy. Pic: Israeli Police

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Mr Morawiecki’s comments as “outrageous”, “unacceptable”, and tantamount to denying the Holocaust which involved the systematic murder of around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.

The Polish government has defended its Prime Minister’s comments, saying he did not intend to deny the Holocaust nor allege that Jewish victims bore responsibility for “Nazi German-perpetrated genocide”.

Mr Morawiecki’s spokeswoman said his remarks “should be interpreted as a sincere call for open discussion of crimes committed against Jews during the Holocaust, regardless of the nationality of those involved in each crime.”

She added: “Each crime must be judged individually, and no single act of wickedness should burden with responsibility entire nations, which were conquered and enslaved by Nazi Germany.”

Holocaust survivors hold banners and wave an Israeli flag during a protest in front of Polish embassy in Tel Aviv on February 8, 2018, against a controversial bill passed by the eastern European country's senate. The legislation sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone describing Nazi German death camps in Poland, like Auschwitz-Birkenau, as Polish. / AFP PHOTO / GIL COHEN-MAGEN (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
 Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki defends 'Jewish Holocaust perpetrators' comments Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki defends ‘Jewish Holocaust perpetrators’ comments skynews tel aviv israel poland 4234604
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Protesters held banners and an Israeli flag in front of the Polish embassy

The majority of the Jews murdered across the continent resided in pre-war Poland, and the Nazi death camps operated in occupied Poland included Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.

Thousands of Poles risked their lives to protect Jewish neighbours during the Second World War and many resisted the Nazis alongside Britain’s armed forces.

Polish airmen were famously among the most successful who flew for the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain.

However, research published following the collapse of the Soviet Union revealed that thousands who remained in Poland also killed Jews and actively collaborated with the German occupiers, contrary to the national narrative of Poland as a victim.

Far-right protesters hold a banner during a demonstration to support a controversial new Polish bill regarding the Holocaust and the definition of Nazi death camps on February 5, 2018 outside the presidential palace in Warsaw. The legislation, which still needs President Andrzej Dudas signature to take effect, is intended to stop people from erroneously describing Nazi German death camps as being Polish. / AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
 Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki defends 'Jewish Holocaust perpetrators' comments Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki defends ‘Jewish Holocaust perpetrators’ comments skynews poland holocaust protest 4234607
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Far-right protesters demonstrating in support of a new Polish law

The criminalisation of the description of Auschwitz as a Polish death camp has received support from the far-right in Poland.

Poland’s ultranationalist party, the National Revival of Poland – which is considered an anti-Semitic organisation by international institutions, including the US State Department – has demonstrated in favour the law.

Protesters attended the Polish embassy on Sunday to criticise the Mr Morawiecki’s comments.



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