Two historians quit Auschwitz board over right-wing politician’s appointment

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Two historians quit Auschwitz board over right-wing politician’s appointment

After Jewish philosopher Stanislaw Krajewski quit earlier in the week, historians Marek Lasota and Krystyna Oleksy followed suit over the appointment of Beata Szydlo

Auschwitz concentration camp
Auschwitz concentration camp

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.

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