Andrzej Duda: Presence at Auschwitz liberation anniversary a sign of remembrance
President Andrzej Duda said after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart in Oświęcim (south Poland) that presence at observances marking the 75th anniversary of the Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp liberation was a sign of remembrance.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin, President Duda said that "presence in Oswiecim on the 75th anniversary of the Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp liberation is a visible sign of remembrance and a protest against hatred and all forms of hostility, especially racial hostility."
Addressing a joint press conference with President Rivlin, President Duda thanked the Israeli head of state for coming to Poland. "This is a very important event in world history. On that day, January 27, 1945, just a handful of survivors, just several thousand of those who stayed in this terrible place, were finally liberated by Red Army soldiers. This was - I think - the end of the most terrible time in their lives," President Duda said.
He admitted he was very moved that so many survivors had come to Oswiecim, to the museum which is a testimony of the tragic annihilation and a great warning to the world.
President Duda expressed his gratitude to President Rivlin for his presence in Poland, and added that this was also a sign of protest against anti-Semitism, "the manifestation of which is our presence at the observances and the homage paid to the victims, as well as to the survivors, (...) who are the witnesses of those times and who do not allow anyone to distort history."
Andrzej Duda and Reuven Rivlin discussed also President Duda's absence at the recent World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem, organised by Moshe Kantor Foundation.
"It was with great regret that I received the fact that Polish participation in the fight against the Nazis, perpetrators of the Holocaust, was omitted during the ceremony at Yad Vashem, and therefore, as the President of the Republic of Poland, I could not be present there," Andrzej Duda said.
He added that Polish soldiers, who initially defended Poland, later fought against Nazi Germany on all World War Two fronts. (PAP/AW)