Polish president meets with Jews - Israeli daily

Andrzej Duda with the former Israeli ambassador to Poland, Szewach Weiss. Tomasz Gzell/PAP

Hebrew-language Israeli daily Maariv wrote on Friday that Polish President Andrzej Duda had met with representatives of Poland's Jewish community and recalled his decision to boycott the World Holocaust Forum 2020 in Jerusalem.

Duda had earlier declined to attend the Israeli Holocaust memorial event on the grounds that remembrance of the Holocaust "should not be taken away" from Poland. The fifth World Holocaust Forum will be held on January 23 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi German death camp in Poland. The International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust falls on January 27.

Israel's second biggest daily cited on its website the words of President Duda at the meeting with Poland's Jews, which took place on January 8, that he had received the invitation to the Jerusalem event with pride and had originally agreed to attend in order not to cause controversy, in part because the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial institution there remembers the Righteous Among the Nations, many of whom are Polish.

Maariv noted that Duda was shocked by the fact that Russia's president is to speak at the Jerusalem event and took the decision not to attend because he was denied the opportunity of delivering a speech at the Forum to present Poland's point of view.

"The main site of ceremonies of International Holocaust Remembrance Day is the territory of the former death camp and there on January 27 ceremonies will be organised by the Auschwitz Museum," the president said, as cited by Maariv.

The paper also pointed out that Duda had expressed the conviction that, "today there are no difficult relations between Poland and the state of Israel, there are no difficult relations between Poles and Jews. There is perhaps a problematic relation for a certain group of influential circles that are organisers of those ceremonies. That is not the state of Israel."

Polish news site niezalezna.pl reported citing two independent sources that Duda's place at the Jerusalem holocaust forum will probably be taken by Polish Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski.