Poles cannot be blamed for Nazi death camps: World Jewish Congress head

“Poles cannot and should not be blamed for the fact that Nazis chose Nazi-occupied Poland as the location for their death camps,” the head of the World Jewish Congress wrote in a Polish daily on Tuesday.

“I will always stand up to distorting history, regardless if caused by misunderstanding or ill will,” Ronald S. Lauder wrote in an op-ed for Rzeczpospolita daily.

Lauder described himself a “sincere friend of Poland, who visits this country often.”

He said, however, that he was worried about “people demonstrating and chanting anti-Semitic and anti-American slogans,” referring to a far-right march in Warsaw on Saturday against a US push for monitoring restitution of Jewish property seized under Nazi German occupation and communism.

He also criticised the burning of an effigy of Judas in Pruchnik, south-eastern Poland, in April.

“For generations, Poland had been a beating heart of Jewish spirituality and home for the majority of Jews of the Diaspora,” said Lauder.

He added he hoped for religious and political leaders in Poland to make a “strong statement against manifesting anti-Semitism.”

“We cannot allow for the ghosts of the past to rise again and lead to destruction of [that] which both our nations have built over years,” Lauder wrote.

Poland’s prime minister on Wednesday condemned what he called a “racist attack” on his country’s ambassador to Israel.

The envoy, Marek Magierowski, was physically and verbally assaulted while standing outside the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, according to a report by the Jerusalem Post.

The attack came amid a diplomatic spat between Poland and Israel.

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