Auschwitz Museum Slams New Yorker Holocaust Piece On Poland

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FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2019, file photo, the sun lights the buildings behind the entrance of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland. World leaders will gather twice to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp _ once on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Jerusalem and again on Jan. 27 at the Auschwitz site in southern Poland. The fact that there will be two competing ceremonies reflects how politically charged World War II remains for nationalist governments in Russia and Poland. (Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

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The Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum has sharply denounced an article in the New Yorker that looks at Holocaust scholarship in Poland, accusing the magazine of publishing lies and distortions of Poland’s role during World War II.

The government also reacted, with a deputy foreign minister, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, saying on Twitter that “this manipulation will be the subject of a strong reaction from Polish diplomacy.”

The Auschwitz museum is located in southern Poland, which was under German occupation during the war. Today it is a Polish state institution that acts as the custodian of the remains of Nazi Germany’s most notorious death camp. It is known to denounce cases of Holocaust denial and revisionism.

It spoke out sharply on Saturday after the New Yorker on Friday published an article by Masha Gessen, which looks at the case of two Polish historians of the Holocaust who were recently found guilty by a Polish court of defaming a deceased wartime village official.

The key points of contention surround a subtitle that says: “To exonerate the nation of the murders of three million Jews, the Polish government will go as far as to prosecute scholars for defamation.” That idea is repeated in the article’s text.

Some 3 million Polish Jews were killed during the Holocaust, but the vast majority were directly murdered by Adolf Hitler’s occupying Nazi forces in Poland. A Polish underground army resisted the Germans, and the Polish state, unlike other occupied nations, never collaborated with the Nazis.

The issue that is up for debate, however, surrounds the degree to which Poles either helped Jews, acted as bystanders or abetted the German killings in the case of tens of thousands of Jews who managed to escape the ghettos. It is a hugely sensitive issue in Poland, with the Poland’s nationalist authorities keen to stress Polish heroism and discourage explorations of Polish wrongdoing.

The New Yorker article’s claim that the Polish government prosecuted the scholars is not accurate. The government has made its distaste for the scholars clear. Yet the case was a civil suit brought by a right-wing group friendly with the government.

Piotr Cywinski, the director of the Auschwitz museum, said the New Yorker article “contains so many lies and distortions that I find it a bit hard to believe that it is a coincidence.”

“Furthermore, when it concerns the Holocaust, any distortion of historical truth is very dangerous. This applies to all forms of denial, revisionism and deformation of historical truth,” Cywinski said.

David Harris, the CEO of the American Jewish Committee, said Sunday that the article’s subtitle was “defamatory.”

“Germany — and Germany alone — was responsible for the Nazi death camps, from Auschwitz to Treblinka,” Harris wrote on Twitter, adding that “the infamous words at Auschwitz — ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (Work makes you free) — were written in German, not Polish. And that must never, ever, be forgotten.”

(AP)


4 COMMENTS

  1. deputy foreign minister, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, saying on Twitter This creature must have his account bon twitter permanently closed, whereas President Donald Trump must have his account on Twitter reinstated immediately.
    Germany — and Germany alone — was responsible for the Nazi death camps As hard as it may be to accept, there is a lot of truth to this, and this probably is way more accurate than many people would care to believe.
    In conjunction with this, Germany is in חרם from 5/8/1945 thru 5/8/2945, whereas Poland is not in חרם.

  2. Such a load of garbage. Everyone with Polish family knows the Poles were as vicious as the Nazis is destroying the Jews. What a load of revisionist garbage.

  3. Sir Martin Gilbert, of Oxford University, has documented proof that the Poles continued rounding up and murdering Jews for nearly 2 years after the end of World War II. There is extensive, respectable and well established historical research about the support that many Poles gave to the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

  4. “Furthermore, when it concerns the Holocaust, any distortion of historical truth is very dangerous. This applies to all forms of denial, revisionism and deformation of historical truth,” Cywinski said.

    Cywinski…Listen to YOUR OWN WORDS…