Truth lost to politics at Holocaust Forum - Polish PM for daily
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote in daily Fakt on Friday that at the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem the truth was lost to politics and the gravity of the commemoration of Holocaust victims was compromised by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Morawiecki, Putin, who appeared after the first speech of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, showed the occasion was not about the memory of the victims but about him.
"He entered the room, where just a moment earlier maps falsifying the borders of pre-war Poland were displayed, maps without properly marked areas plundered by Stalin," the prime minister wrote.
In Morawiecki's view, Putin's Thursday speech at the forum "seemed toned down when compared to his recent overtly false statements."
"However, despite the change of words, it was the same Vladimir Putin. While condemning the crimes of World War II, he did not even mention the fact that they were rooted in the Hitler-Stalin agreement. When condemning German crimes, he failed to mention the Soviet crimes, such as Katyn," (the 1940 Massacre, in which Soviet security services mass-executed around 22,000 Polish prisoners of war in Katyn Forest, western Russia), the prime minister wrote.
According to Morawiecki, "the truth about World War II is the truth about two criminal totalitarianisms, whose symbols are Auschwitz and the Gulag." "Denying these facts is a blow to the values that are the foundation of the European order," he said.
"Yesterday at Yad Vashem, Vladimir Putin wanted to take away from Poland its rightful place in the history of World War II. But Poland is and will always be present in it," Morawiecki wrote. In his opinion, Poland is at the forefront of fighting for these highest values. "Our place is among those who miraculously survived the horrors of war. Our place is on the side of truth!" the prime minister wrote.
On Thursday, the Fifth World Holocaust Forum was held in Jerusalem to mark the 75th liberation anniversary of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, and International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Over 40 heads of state and government attended. Polish President Andrzej Duda announced his absence from the forum after its organisers denied him permission to speak after Putin. The ceremonies were organised by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation in cooperation with the Yad Vashem Institute and under the patronage of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The event was co-financed by the oligarch Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor, linked to the Kremlin.