IPN rebuts Los Angeles Times article on Polish complicity in Holocaust

Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) issued a statement on Saturday rebutting a Los Angeles Times article that attributed to Poland complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.

The article of June 24 related a visit to Berlin by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during which he took part in ceremonies organised to mark a US-German initiative on Holocaust education. The article stated that Germany had led the way in accepting responsibility for the Holocaust while , "other countries, such as Austria and Poland, remain more evasive about their roles in the Nazi-ordered genocide."

During the event, Blinken commented on the fate of Jews in the eastern Polish city of Bialystok, where, he said, residents "burned the beards of rabbis and torched synagogues long before World War II and the Holocaust." He also spoke about his stepfather, who was deported from Bialystok together with his family and was the only one to survive.

"Poland, as an allied country, contributed a huge effort to the defeat of the German Reich, ruled by Adolf Hitler," the IPN wrote in its statement. "It was the first country in the world to put up armed resistance to German aggression. It paid a huge price for that in the time of the occupation of the whole of its territory by Germany. Not for one second of World War II did it take part in any way with the German genocide.

"On the contrary: the Polish State, after moving its government to the territory of Western allies, continued the fight against the German Reich, creating an underground army in the country and fighting on the allies' side for the freedom not only of Poland but also of Norway, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy," the statement continued. "Polish society (including millions of Jews and millions of Poles) was subject to the German genocide action. Poles were the second in number (after Jews) as a group of victims murdered by Germans in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps."

The IPN went on to say that attributing Poland "complicity in this genocide is a falsification of history, air-brushing the crimes of the Hitler regime and a brutal abuse of the victims' memory."