THE WARSAW INSTITUTE REVIEW

Date: 27 June 2018    Author: Andrzej Pawluszek

Agreement for the Future

Signing the declaration by both prime ministers is not only a symbolic termination of misunderstandings concerning the amendment of the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance, but also, and especially, an opening of a new chapter of mutual relationships.

WarSaW, Poland, June 27, 2018. PriMe MiniSter MateuSz MoraWiecki. © Leszek Szymański (PAP)

“Over the last 30 years, the contacts between our countries have been based on trust and understanding. Israel and Poland are friends and partners, cooperating closely with each other in the international arena, but also as regards the memory of Holocaust,” underlines Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Poland and Israel have a number of common interests. Both countries are closely linked to their ally, namely the U.S.A., and have convergent interests. The dispute over the amendment to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance was disadvantageous for both parties. It is good that it has finally come to an end.

However, it is worth mentioning that the intentions of the Act were clear and comprehensible – we have wanted to fight with the notion of “Polish concentration camps.” Yet the Act caused a stir, and the provision on imprisonment led to serious controversies, especially in the U.S.A. and Israel. A correction was necessary; nevertheless, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki indicates that it was worth going through this difficult time in the past months. Thanks to this, the obvious lie about “Polish concentration camps” will not be neglected any more. During World War II, Germans murdered 6 millions of our citizens, and the accusations of complicity in the Holocaust are especially painful for us. This does not mean that we should close our eyes to the shameful attitudes of numerous Poles. We should rather seek to thoroughly examine these cases. Despite the narration spread by some groups, their freedom is not in any way limited in Poland.

The signed declaration takes Polish-Israeli relations to the next level. The honest discussion over the shape of this declaration has brought a very important and unprecedented result. Mateusz Morawiecki and Benjamin Netanyahu have proved that a better future can be built only on the basis of truth and fairness.

Joint declaration of prime ministers of the State of Israel and the Republic of Poland

  1. Over the last thirty years, the contacts between our countries and societies have been based on a well-grounded trust and understanding. Israel and Poland are devoted, long-term friends and partners, cooperating closely with each other in the international arena, but also as regards the memory and education of the Holocaust. This cooperation has been permeated by a spirit of mutual respect for the identity and historical sensitivity, including the most tragic periods of our history.
  2. Following the conversation between Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Morawiecki, Israel welcomes the decision taken by the Polish government to establish the official Polish group dedicated to the dialogue with its Israeli partners on historical issues relating to the Holocaust. It is obvious that the Holocaust was an unprecedented crime, committed by Nazi Germany against the Jewish nation, including all Poles of Jewish origin. Poland has always expressed the highest understanding of the significance of the Holocaust as the most tragic part of the Jewish national experience.
  3. We believe that there is a common responsibility to conduct free research, to promote understanding and to preserve the memory of the history of the Holocaust. We have always agreed that the term “Polish concentration/death camps” is blatantly erroneous and diminishes the responsibility of Germans for establishing those camps.The wartime Polish Government-in-Exile attempted to stop this Nazi activity by trying to raise awareness among the Western allies to the systematic murder of the Polish Jews.We acknowledge and condemn every single case of cruelty against Jews perpetrated by Poles during the World War II.We are honored to remember heroic acts of numerous Poles, especially the Righteous Among the Nations, who risked their lives to save Jewish people.
  4. We reject the actions aimed at blaming Poland or the Polish nation as a whole for the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their collaborators of different nations. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that some people – regardless of their origin, religion or worldview – revealed their darkest side at that time. We acknowledge the fact that structures of the Polish underground State supervised by the Polish Government-in-Exile created a mechanism of systematic help and support to Jewish people, and its courts sentenced Poles for collaborating with the German occupation authorities, including for denouncing Jews.
  5. We support free and open historical expression and research on all aspects of the Holocaust so that it can be conducted without any fear of legal obstacles, including but not limited to students, teachers, researchers, journalists and – with all certainty the survivors and their families – who will not be subject to any legal charges for using the right to free speech and academic freedom with reference to the Holocaust. No law can and will change that.
  6. Both governments vehemently condemn all forms of anti-Semitism, and express their commitment to oppose any of its manifestations. Both governments also express their rejection of anti-Polonism and other negative national stereotypes. The governments of Poland and Israel call for a return to civil and respectful dialogue in the public discourse.

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