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Feb 21, 2024

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News Byte Update From Poland

Putin orchestrates anti-Polish Auschwitz gambit
Polish President Andrzej Duda declined an invitation to attend a Russian-backed  Auschwitz commemoration in Israel where he was not allowed to speak. Ironically, featured speakers were Russian President Vladimir Putin and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier representing the countries that unleashed World War II by invading Poland in September 1939. Also addressing the assembly at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Institute was the president of France whose pro-Nazi Vichy regime had shipped thousands of Jews to German gas chambers during the war. The event, marking the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz death camp’s liberation, was organized by Putin’s Jewish oligarch Moshe Kantor. It soon became clear what lay behind a recent string of anti-Polish attacks launched by Putin in the run-up to the Auschwitz anniversary. He dismissed the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, accused Poland of collaborating with Hitler and referred to Poland’s ambassador to Nazi Germany Józef Lipski as “a scoundrel and anti-Semitic swine.” Duda accused Putin of trying to shift the blame for the war’s onto Poland. US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher tweeted:  “Dear President Putin, Hitler and Stalin colluded to start WWII, and. Poland was a victim of this horrible conflict”. As a chess-player thinking several moves ahead, Putin correctly assumed President Duda would boycott the Jerusalem event if he was not allowed to publicly refute the Russian leader’s accusations. 

Polish parliament condemns Putin’s historical falsehoods
Poland’s Sejm, parliament’s main lawmaking chamber, has unanimously adopted a hard-hitting resolution rejecting the historical falsehoods recently spread by Russia’s Vladimir Putin. The Russian president suggested that Poland was partly responsible for the war and also claimed that the Soviet Union helped “save lives” after it invaded and carved up Poland in 1939 with Nazi Germany. The resolution said: “The greatness of a nation and relations between states cannot be built on lies and the falsification of history. Two totalitarian powers of the time – Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union – led to the outbreak of World War II.”  Putin’s anti-Polish blitz appears to have been triggered Poland’s support for sanctions against Moscow and for a European Parliament resolution blaming Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for the war’s outbreak. Putin was irked by the Poles’ fierce opposition to the Russo-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and resents the NATO troop buildup in neighboring Poland.

Prominent Israeli figure critical of Jerusalem Holocaust forum
Shevah Weiss, Israel’s former ambassador to Poland, criticized a Holocaust forum hosted by Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Institute. “The initiative to organize the forum did not come from Yad Vashem, which I had headed for seven years. It was the work of a man named Kantor and amounted to bartering with history. That’s not the way to go,” Weiss said. He was speaking at a meeting between Polish President Andrzej Duda and members of Poland’s Jewish community. Weiss’ words seem to suggest that the Israeli side was provided with  “incentives”  to go along with the project designed to white-wash Russia’s complicity with Hitler in unleashing World War II.

Compiled by Robert Strybel
Warsaw Correspondent