Chief Rabbi backs Poland in dispute with Putin

Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich backed Poland in the wake of numerous attacks coming from the top Russian authorities, including president Putin, accusing the country of being among those responsible for the outbreak of WWII, and having anti-semitic representatives colluding with Adolf Hitler in its pre-war diplomatic service.

On Tuesday, Mr Schudrich issued a statement, which we’re publishing below.

“Over the recent days, the Russian President Vladimir Putin made a number of outrageous statements about Poland’s role in the outbreak of World War II . For us, the Jewish people, what we have found particularly scandalous, is Mr Putin’s tampering with the note of the conversation between Polish Ambassador to Berlin Józef Lipski and Adolf Hitler in 1938.

Poland, which we cannot forget about, was backing the idea of emigration of its Jewish minority, then making up ten percent of the country’s population. However, the state cooperated in this field with the Zionist movement, which was clandestinely supported by Poland in military matters. At the same time, when the Third Reich expelled thousands of Polish Jews in 1938, Polish diplomacy, including Mr Lipski, personally lent them a helping hand. Accusing him of being an anti-semite on the basis of a single sentence, taken totally out of context, is highly irresponsible.

The memory of World War II is the foundation of the contemporary European identity. Every attempt aimed at falsifying it poses a direct threat to that identity. This is why we note with much appreciation how honestly and consistently the present-day highest authorities in Germany present the truth about the war, which was caused directly by their country. We wish the Russian authorities, whose country started the conflict as Hitler’s ally, then became its victim, and ultimately emerged victorious, would display similar honesty.”