Statement by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum

The Union of Jewish Communities of Poland

Warsaw, December 31, 2019

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has recently made a number of outrageous statements on the onset of World War II and Poland’s role in it. Particularly scandalous for us Jews is Putin’s manipulation of the note made by the Polish ambassador in Berlin Józef Lipski on his meeting with Adolf Hitler in 1938.

One should not forget that Poland supported the emigration of its 10% Jewish minority. But it did so in part in coordination with the Zionist movement, whom it had granted clandestine military support. At the same time, when in 1938 the III Reich expelled thousands of Polish Jews, the Polish diplomatic service, including personally ambassador Lipski, gave them assistance. To accuse him of antisemitism on the basis of one sentence plucked out of context is extremely irresponsible.

The memory of World War II is the foundation of contemporary European identity; any falsification of that memory threatens this identity directly. This is why we acknowledge with appreciation how representatives of supreme German authorities have consistently for years been expressing the truth about that war, for which their country bears direct responsibility and guilt. We wish similar honesty to the authorities of Russia, which had started the war as an ally of Germany, only to become her main victim and finally victor.

/-/Klara Kołodziejska-Połtyn

Chairperson, Union of Jewish Religious Communities in the Republic of Poland

/-/Michael Schudrich

Chief Rabbi of the Republic of Poland