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Jewish Leader Slams Polish Officials for Casting Doubt on Polish, Nazi Murder of Jews in WWII


The head of a major international Jewish organization condemned officials in Poland Wednesday for questioning Polish and Nazi involvement in the murder of Jews during the Second World War.

World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder said in a statement that recent comments to this effect by Polish Education Minister Anna Zalewska and Jedwabne Mayor Michael Chajewski are a “slap in the face” to Holocaust victims.

Last week, Zalewska cast doubt on the involvement of Poles in two pogroms in the 1940s — the 1941 Jedwabne massacre, in which Poles burned alive more than 300 Jews in a barn, and the 1946 Kielce massacre, in which 42 people died. The anniversaries of both pogroms were commemorated earlier this month.

During an interview with public broadcaster TVN, when asked whether the massacres should be taught in schools, Zalewska answered, “Jedwabne is a historical fact that has led to many misunderstandings and very biased opinions,” adding that the perpetrators of the Kielce massacre were antisemites, “but not quite Polish.”

Chajewski, for his part, voiced approval for the exhumation of hundreds of Jewish bodies from a local mass grave to examine whether Nazi soldiers were indeed the murderers. “You need to determine how many people were killed and by whom to finally dispel doubt,” he told a Polish newspaper last week.

According to Lauder, the comments by the minister and mayor undermine the efforts of Polish scholars, “who have spent more than 25 years unearthing evidence of horrifying acts of violence against Jews committed by Poles.”

“Minister Zalewska and Mayor Chajewski would do well to heed the words of President Andrzej Duda whosaid earlier this month at the 70th anniversary of the Kielce pogrom that, ‘In a free, sovereign and independent Poland there is no room for any form of prejudice. There


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