President decides not to attend Holocaust forum in Jerusalem
President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday announced that he will not take part in the 5th World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on January 23 due to the fact that Poland will not be allowed to address the event. The president said the government's stance was in line with his.
Andrzej Duda said he saw no reason why he could not address the forum given the fact that the floor was offered to the presidents of Russia, Germany and France, as well as representatives of Great Britain and the United States, while the event would mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a death camp that Nazi Germany built and operated on occupied Polish territory.
According to Andrzej Duda, the lack of a Polish voice during the conference was "falsification of history."
Andrzej Duda also expressed concern about Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent accusations that Poland was complicit in the outbreak of World War II, a claim that caused outrage in Poland and met with protests from a range of countries, including ambassadors of Germany, Great Britain, the United States and Israel, as well as Polish officials and Poland's Jewish community.
If Putin chose to follow up on his rhetoric, Poland would have no possibility to react to his words.
The Polish president also said that January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is the most important date in commemorating Holocaust victims. Poland will hold official ceremonies marking the day on the site of the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz.
The event will bring together Holocaust survivors and heads of state and government from around the world, Andrzej Duda said, adding that tributes will also be paid to Red Army soldiers who fought to liberate the camp. "It is a great sacrifice by the Russian nation and the nations of the former Soviet Union," he said.