Trucks highlight Poles’ efforts to save Jews from Holocaust
PR dla Zagranicy
Several dozen lorries have started travelling around Europe in a campaign to highlight Poles’ efforts to save Jews from the Holocaust in World War II, the niezalezna.pl website has reported.
The trucks are towing trailers bearing the slogan: “#Respect Us. During WW2 Poles saved over 100 000 Jews”.
niezalezna.pl reported that the campaign was a “grassroots initiative by young Poles”.
The campaign comes amid tensions between Poland and Israel over a new law which could see a jail term imposed on anyone who accuses Poland of being complicit in the Holocaust.
A statement posted on the www.respectus.pl website said: “The international campaign of attributing co-responsibility of the Holocaust to the Polish nation is one of the most shocking and scandalous events in [the] modern history of Poland.”
It added: “Poland - in contrast to many European countries – has never collaborated with Nazi Germany. [The] death penalty was imposed for helping Jews in Poland. Nevertheless, our countrymen were not intimidated and during World War II they saved over 100,000 Jews.”
The statement concluded: “Today, when history is being falsified in front of civilized societies – only few stand for us. Very few are on the truth’s side.”
Polish delegation heading to Israel
In Poland, contested new rules signed into force by President Andrzej Duda earlier this month are seen as a way of fighting the use of the phrase “Polish death camps” in reference to Nazi German-run extermination camps located in occupied Poland during World War II.
Poles say the phrase distorts history and implies Poland's involvement in the Holocaust.
But critics have accused Poland of trying to whitewash and rewrite history. Commentators have said that Israel is concerned that the new law could mean penalties for anyone who criticises individual Poles' role in the Holocaust.
Polish government spokeswoman Joanna Kopcińska said on Wednesday that journalists and historians “will not be punished" under the new law, which she insisted did not aim to restrict freedom of speech.
A Polish delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki is heading to Israel for talks amid diplomatic tensions between the countries.