WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – The president of the national tourist organization in Poland was fired after noting in a newspaper interview that he had removed the Auschwitz memorial from the itinerary for foreign journalists’ visits.
Marek Olszewski, who has held his post since March, also suggested a similar move for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw in the Gazeta Wyborcza story published Wednesday .
Polish Minister of Tourism Witold Bańka in a tweet the same day said he was firing Olszewski immediately over what he called the “scandalous remarks.” Banka was unaware that Olszewski had removed the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum until the story was published.
Olszewski told the newspaper: “As the head of the Polish Tourist Organization, who loves his country, I want to show its best side, through our monuments, culture, hospitality, wonderful music. Auschwitz is not a tourist product but a place of martyrology, reverie and reflection, and we are promoting Poland as an attractive tourist destination.”
He added later: “It was Poles, not the Jewish elites, that were completely plowed and liquidated during the war. Let us remember that the whole Jewish culture in practice has survived.”