Poland boycotting Holocaust commemoration in Israel
Poland's President Andrzej Duda will not travel to the Holocaust commemoration ceremony at Yad Vashem in Israel on January 23. Duda announced he is boycotting the event because the organisers did not comply with his request to give a speech there. Polish commentators reflect on the split in the country over how to deal with history.
Protecting historical truth
wPolityce.pl praises the President's decision:
“President Andrzej Duda's decision was a key move to counteract the attempt to downplay Poland's perspective, as well as an important signal to defend historical truth. But that's just the start. We're dealing with two additional aspects of the crucial struggle for memory, truth and dignity. … The 80th anniversary of the first transport of Poles to the German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 75th anniversary of its liberation must be the focus of our attention. … And of the development of a strong historical message that is heard all over the world.”
Duda has delegitimised himself morally
There are good reasons why Duda was denied the opportunity to make an official speech, writes Krytyka Polityczna:
“If you listen to the Polish president's many speeches you might think the Poles saved huge numbers of Jews during the war and that the few people who harmed the Jews were persecutors and traitors who in so doing excluded themselves from the Polish community. The English term for such harmful nonsense is Holocaust distortion, and it has serious consequences. ... What's worse, however, is that the political formation to which Andrzej Duda belongs (and for which he is responsible [the PiS]) has unleashed the forces of the radical anti-Semitic right, the existence and scope of which has shocked global public opinion.”