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Poland seeks excuse from Israel for alleged holocaust role note | Israel News



Poland is awaiting another excuse from Israel over its acting Foreign Minister's comments on Poland's alleged anti-Semitism.

The argument led Warsaw to withdraw from a central summit in Jerusalem, according to Polish Deputy Prime Minister Szymon Szynkowski.

Israel's authorities "reject this statement … and apologize", Szynkowski told Tuesday.

"We leave it to Israeli leaders to choose what kind of reaction they want and who will respond, but it should be a unified and definite one," he said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said at the weekend that "Poles sucked anti-Semitism with their breast milk" and that "there were many Poles cooperating with the Nazis".

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki withdrew from a summit between four Central European countries, the Visegrad group in Jerusalem over the remarks.

Morawiecki 's Chief of Staff Marek Suski said if there was no excuse Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to rescue face Tuesday with individual meetings with the remaining three leaders, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban before a joint lunch at his official residence.

The first gathering outside of Europe by the Visegrad group was to be a great achievement for Netanyahu in its outreach to Central and Eastern Europe to counter traditional criticism Israel faces in international fora.

Orban was the only one to tackle the diplomatic crisis. He said he hoped the countries could resolve their dispute and "improve the situation".

"It's always better with them than without them," he said about Poland.

Standing next to Netanyahu, Pellegrini proudly noted that more than 600 of his compatriots had been recognized by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial to save Jews during World War II.

He claimed that the figure was the highest per capita share of any country.

Yad Vashem would not confirm the claim, but said that any "statistical conclusions" about a country's fair among nations "should be avoided".

The Slovak Republic was a client state in Germany during World War II, whose leader, Jozef Tiso, collaborated with Hitler and deported Jews to Nazi death camps.

"The government did everything to round off all the Jews and send them to Auschwitz and Majdanek. There was a high percentage of victims in Slovakia," said Ephraim Zuroff, the largest Nazi hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "Many people idolize Tiso this day."

It is a sensitive subject for Poland, where these concentration camps were located, but which for centuries was a living center of Jewish life.

Well-documented history

] Poland was the first country to be admitted by Adolf Hitler's regime and never had a cooperative government.

Members of Poland's opposition and built-in government fought to warn the world of mass killings of Jews, and thousands of Poles risked their lives to help Jews.

But Holocaust researchers have also gathered ample evidence of Polish villagers who murdered Jews who fled the Nazis or Polish extortionists who pursued the Jews for financial gain and stole their property.

Poland's nationalist government has been quick to condemn anyone accused of connecting the country with the well-documented history.

Israeli officials see the controversial law of Poland which criminalizes publicity on Polish applicability in Nazi war crimes as an attempt to suppress such a discussion, and Netanyahu has confronted criticism from historians in Israel not to oppose the law that critics say distorts the story.

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