On Monday, American broadcaster CNN published comments attributed to Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, an NGO that aims to fight defamation of Jews.
“Greenblatt told CNN that… so many countries – Iran, Russia, Poland, and Hungary, for example – specifically refuse to acknowledge Hitler’s attempt to exterminate Jews,” the broadcaster said on Monday.
CNN quoted Greenblatt as saying that those countries opted “instead to talk about generic suffering rather than recognising this catastrophic incident for what it was: the intended genocide of the Jewish people”.
On Sunday, The Washington Post daily wrote: “Russia and Poland are also known to ignore the Jewish dimension of the Holocaust in public statements”.
Polish ambassador to the US, Piotr Wilczek, said: “Such statements are not only false but hurtful to the Polish people”.
In a statement requesting Greenblatt's claims be withdrawn, Wilczek said that during World War II, the Polish government-in-exile told the UN “that the German authorities aim with systematic deliberation at the total extermination of the Jewish population of Poland”.
The dispute comes days after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which marks on 27 January the liberation of Auschwitz, a German Nazi death camp.
Wilczek added that Poland’s current administration also acknowledges the Jewish aspect of the Holocaust. During International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations, Polish presidential aide Wojciech Kolarski said: “In Auschwitz, Germans carried out the mass murder of Jews”. Kolarski added that “the German’s goal [sic.] was the total extermination of the Jewish nation”.
The comments in American media followed US President Donald Trump’s statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in which he said: “It is with a heavy heart and sombre mind that we remember and honour the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust”.
Critics pointed that Trump had omitted explicit mention of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, adding that they had been acknowledged by previous US presidents.
However, White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the statement aimed to take “into account all of those who suffered”, including five million non-Jews, CNN said. Among them were “priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters”, Hicks said, according to CNN.
Source: cnn.com, washingtonpost.com, waszyngton.msz.gov.pl