(JTA) — In defending a controversial law limiting rhetoric on the Holocaust, Poland’s prime minister again angered Israeli politicians by saying that the genocide had ”Jewish perpetrators.”
Mateusz Morawiecki said this Saturday at the Munich Security Conference during an interview with Ronen Bergman, an Israeli journalist, in which he spoke about the law passed earlier this month. It criminalizes claims that the Polish nation or state are responsible for Nazi crimes.
Israel protested the law, as did many Jewish groups that warned it would limit debate about the Holocaust and serve to obscure the actions of Poles who betrayed Jews to the Germans or killed them.
“Of course it’s not going to be punishable, [it’s] not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian; not only German perpetrators,” Morawiecki told Bergman.
The leader of the Zionist Union party in Israel, Avi Gabbai, wrote on Twitter: “Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talks like the last of the Holocaust deniers. The blood of millions of Jews cries out from the ground in Poland over the distortion of history and escape from blame.”
Dozens of Jews are known to have collaborated with the Nazis in Germany alone, helping the Nazis track down other Jews in hiding, often in the hope of escaping the Nazi death machine. Hundreds of Jews served as Kapos, internal Jewish police officers, and administrators in the service of the Nazis. Some of them tortured and murdered other Jews.
Thousands of Poles are believed to have collaborated with the Nazis, resulting in the death of many thousands of victims, according to Efraim Zuroff, Eastern Europe director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Thousands of non-Jewish Poles also rescued thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. The Nazis killed three million Polish Jews and another three million non-Jewish ones.