Two more members quit the board of Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau museum in protest after the government appointed a right-wing politician to serve on it.
Following the resignation of Jewish philosopher Stanislaw Krajewski on Wednesday, historians Marek Lasota and Krystyna Oleksy on Thursday announced they would do the same.
The culture ministry appointed Beata Szydlo, a former prime minister and top member of the country’s right-wing Law and Justice ruling party, to the board on Tuesday.
Lasota, who heads the Home Army Museum named for that anti-Nazi partisan group, is a Law and Justice supporter. But he said he is leaving for “similar reasons” to those cited by Krajewski, who called Szydlo’s nomination a form of “politicisation” of the state museum. Oleksy did not give a reason for her resignation, according to the Polish TV channel TVN.
Under Law and Justice, Poland’s government has been accused of manipulating the historical record on the Holocaust. In 2019, Law and Justice passed a controversial law that outlaws publicly blaming Poland in any way for atrocities during the Holocaust. The party argues it is preserving the country’s record from being equated with the Nazi regime that occupied the country.
The Auschwitz state museum has largely stayed out of that debate and maintained its status internationally as a major site of preservation and research. But it has also become a watchdog on social media, calling out anyone who neglects to mention that Auschwitz was erected in “Nazi-occupied Poland.”
The council has nine members. The ministry has not yet said who would be taking the place of the three who resigned.
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”