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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Why Poland snubbed Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem: Polish PM

23.01.2020 12:45
A decision by the organisers of the World Holocaust Forum to not allow Polish President Andrzej Duda to speak at the event showed “disrespect to Poland,” the country’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.PAP/Leszek Szymański

Polish President Andrzej Duda has snubbed the event, which is being held in Jerusalem on Thursday, because the organisers had not allowed him to address the audience, unlike his counterparts from Russia, Israel, Germany and France.

The decision showed "disrespect to Poland and to all the heroes from the Second World War," Morawiecki told the BBC in an interview released on Thursday.

"When you hear such statements like [those] made by President Putin, falsifying history completely, this is also our responsibility to give an appropriate reply. If you do not have a floor to give an appropriate reply, the only reaction can be as it happened," Morawiecki said.

Russia’s Putin last month suggested that Poland was partly responsible for the outbreak of World War II, and claimed that the Soviet Union helped “save lives” after it invaded Poland in 1939 following the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the USSR and Nazi Germany.

The comments triggered anger in Warsaw.

In an extensive opinion piece published by the Politico news service this week, Morawiecki accused Putin of peddling “false narratives” about World War II.

In an interview posted on Wednesday by British newspaper The Financial Times, Poland’s Duda called Putin’s statements “a complete distortion of historical truth."

He said: "We give it a very direct name, it is an ideology, it is a kind of post-Stalinist revisionism."

Polish officials are prepared to fend off any lies Putin might tell an audience of international figures at the World Holocaust Forum, Polish private radio broadcaster RMF FM reported on Monday.

Meanwhile, representatives from more than 50 countries and international organisations have confirmed they will take part in commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German concentration camp of Auschwitz in southern Poland on January 27.

(jh/gs)

Source: BBC/politico.eu/The Financial Times/IAR