Monday, July 18, 2016

Poland: Locals stay away as Jews mark postwar Polish massacre

Via Jewish Weekly:
Some 150 people attended a commemoration in Jedwabne, Poland, on the 75th anniversary of a massacre of hundreds of Polish Jews by their neighbors.

The town’s history is controversial in Poland because it involves complicity in the Holocaust by members of a nation that many perceive primarily as a victim of the German Nazi occupation.

In 1946, well after the country’s liberation from Nazi Germany, a few dozen villagers in Jedwabne burned alive at least 340 local Jews.

In a nation where the Nazis killed 3 million non-Jewish Poles in addition to 3 million Polish Jews, “some found it, and some find it, difficult to accept the very bitter truth” about Jedwabne, Schudrich said. But since then, polls suggest that today approximately half of Poles have come to accept their compatriots’ role at Jedwabne, Schudrich said.

Polish Undersecretary of State Wojciech Kolarski represented Polish President Andrzej Duda at the event, laying a wreath at the monument for the victims.

“To be clear about what happened here: Polish citizens killed their own Polish compatriots of Jewish origin in a way that damaged a long tradition of living side by side,” Kolarski said. “There can be no justification for that.”

Some Polish politicians in the past denied that Poles killed Jews in Jedwabne, including Jadwiga Stolarska, a former senator who stated in Parliament in 2001 that Germans were behind the killings and that “there was no way a Pole could kill a Jew.”
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