Via Jerusalem Post:
Amid a public debate about the complicity of Poles in the murder of Jews in the Holocaust, Poland’s education minister implied that historical accounts of such atrocities are inconclusive.
In an interview Wednesday with the TVN24 network, Anna Zalewska spoke of “biased opinions” in describing Jedwabne, where on July 10, 1941, at least a few dozen Poles killed a minimum of 340 of their Jewish neighbors, according to the Polish government’s own Institute of National Remembrance. Many were burned alive in a barn.
“It is a historical record in which there have been many misunderstandings, many very biased opinions,” Zalewka, of President Andrzej Duda’s right-wing Law and Justice Party, when asked whether Poles carried out the murders. “The tragic situation that took place in Jedwabne is controversial. Many historians, eminent professors, show completely different scenarios.”
Several Polish presidents, including Duda, have acknowledged that Polish gentiles killed Polish Jews at Jedwabne, though the Institute of National Remembrance is pushing for an exhumation of the mass grave at Jedwabne to settle some questions, including some raised by the discovery of bullet shells at the scene.
Jedwabne is one of approximately 20 sites where Polish non-Jews killed a total of 1,500 to 2,500 of their Jewish neighbors during the Holocaust or directly after it, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel director, Efraim Zuroff. While complicity in the genocide occurred in Poland on a lower scale than in some of its neighboring countries, many Poles find this complicity difficult to accept because of a “deep-rooted and largely justified perception by Poles as being primarily victims during World War II,” Zuroff told JTA.