Main commemorations should take place in Poland: Auschwitz Museum director

In an interview with Israeli online newspaper “The Times of Israel”, Piotr Cywiński, the Director of Auschwitz Museum criticised the organisers of World Holocaust Forum, stating that the main event commemorating the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp liberation should take place in Poland, not Israel.

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The Forum in Jerusalem is being organised by the Foundation of the World Holocaust Forum and Yad Vashem Institute, under the patronage of Israeli President. The Foundation was established by Russian-Jewish businessman Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor, the head of the European Jewish Congress, closely associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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“For years, the organiser of the Forum has made attempts to create it as an alternative commemorative event for the memorial site. Five years ago, he tried to invite heads of states to Theresienstadt at the same time,” Mr Cywiński said.

He added that the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is observed on January 27, to commemorate the liberation of the Nazi German death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Soviet Red Army. There are many accompanying events all over the world.

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“And all these events are not presented as alternatives for the commemoration in Auschwitz,” the director of the Museum said.

Mr Cywiński stressed that he agrees with the decision of the Polish President Andrzej Duda to boycott the forum, having been denied the chance to take the floor.

“I think that I would behave in exactly the same way if I were in his situation. Three million Polish Jews perished in the Shoah, the Forum takes place close to the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which is the biggest Jewish cemetery, but also the biggest Polish cemetery,” he told “The Times of Israel.”

“I only feel sorry for my friends from Yad Vashem, as it seems to me, that they will be the main victims of this political dispute,” Mr Cywiński added.

The full interview and article about it can be read on the website of “The Times of Israel.”