The Auschwitz museum in Poland accused Israeli politician Yair Lapid’s rhetoric on Poles’ alleged complicity in the Holocaust Poland feels like denial on the genocide.
Lapid, who has adopted extremist rhetoric in speaking about Poland and the Holocaust, was quoted as telling the Polish news site Onet earlier this week that, “the Poles cooperated in creating and running extermination camps.”
On Friday, a spokesperson of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, a state-run institution entrusted with preserving the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, wrote on Twitter: “Such a statement of a known Israeli politician hurts like a clash with Holocaust denial. Both are a conscious lie. Using Holocaust as political game mocks the victims.”
Auschwitz was built on orders from the Germans in 1940 and used for the incarceration and brutal murder of thousands of Poles before it became also an extermination camp for Jews and Roma in 1942.
The Nazis used Polish and Jewish inmates as guards.
Poland’s government last year passed a law which makes it illegal to blame the Polish nation for Nazi crimes. Government spokespeople cited the use of the term “Polish death camps,” including by former president Barack Obama, as proof the law is necessary.
Israel’s government protested the legislation, which it said risks hampering historical research.
Lapid in response wrote: “There were Polish death camps and no law can ever change that,” adding: “Hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered without ever meeting a German.”
Leading historians, including Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, dismissed Lapid’s claims as inaccurate.