EP to debate distortions of WW2 history next week

Halicki said that the EP's concession to the debate showed that the EU and its institutions were Poland's true security guarantees. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The European Parliament (EP) will debate distortions of European and World War Two history in Strasbourg next week on a motion by MEPs from Poland's Civic Platform (PO) and the Polish People's Party (PSL), both members of the EP's European People's Party (EPP) faction.

EPP press services told PAP that the motion for the debate was connected with recent comments concerning World War Two by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who in December accused Poland of complicity in the war's outbreak and the Holocaust.

"We all know what Putin said recently, and how shocking it was, especially for us Poles. Despite the many tensions in the world, the European Parliament will not pass over or ignore these appalling words, which primarily attempt to change and rewrite history, especially (in view of - PAP) President Putin's aggressive rhetoric," said Andrzej Halicki, head of PO's and PSL's EPP delegation.

Halicki added that the EP's concession to the debate showed that the EU and its institutions were Poland's true security guarantees.

At a December 20 sitting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Putin said the immediate cause of World War Two was not the August 1939 Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union but the 1938 Munich Pact, which secured the cession to Germany of Czechoslovakia's Sudeten German territory and which Poland attempted to use to secure its claims to the Zaolzie region, over which it was in dispute with Czechoslovakia.

Referring to the Soviets' September 22, 1939, takeover of Brest in then eastern Poland (today's Belarus) from the Germans, who had captured the city several days earlier, Putin stressed that did not mean the Soviets had taken it from Poland, as at the time they were not fighting against Poland, which had lost control of the area. He also observed that the Red Army's entry into the region probably helped save many local lives, especially of Jews, who would have otherwise been exterminated by the Germans.

"At that time the Polish government had lost control of those territories, so there was nobody to negotiate with. The Soviet Union did not actually take anything away from Poland," Putin said.

He also accused Poland's pre-war government of hedging ties to Nazi Germany, by which they "exposed their people, the Polish people, to the German war machine and contributed to the outbreak of World War Two."