Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Russia Blasts Poland for Claiming Ukrainians Liberated Auschwitz

Moscow condemned as “sacrilegious” the Polish foreign minister’s suggestion that Ukrainians, not Russians, liberated Auschwitz.

Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna in an interview Wednesday with Polskie Radio, addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s absence from a ceremony scheduled to take place at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on Jan. 27, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp by Red Army troops.

“Maybe it’s better to say … that the First Ukrainian Front and Ukrainians liberated [Auschwitz], because Ukrainian soldiers were there, on that January day, and they opened the gates of the camp and they liberated the camp,” Schetyna said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called Schetyna’s comments “sacrilegious and cynical,” the Associated Press reported Friday.

“Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army, which included Russians, Ukrainians, Chechens, Tatars and Georgians, among others,” Lavrov said. His ministry called Schetyna’s words about Auschwitz a “mockery of history [that] needs to be stopped.”

Relations between Moscow and Poland deteriorated following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last March and its subsequent annexation of Crimea. Poland and other central and east European governments see Russia’s actions in Ukraine as presaging a possible threat to their own sovereignty.

Putin attended 60th-anniversary events in 2005. Putin’s absence from this year’s ceremony has been attributed to Polish reluctance to host him. Schetyna said the decision was Putin’s.

Earlier this month, Latvian delegates to the United Nations education and heritage arm, UNESCO, vetoed an exhibition about the Holocaust that Russian UNESCO delegates had planned to open on Jan. 25.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.