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20 Feb, 2018 19:23

‘Polocaust museum’: Polish minister calls for commemoration of non-Jewish victims of WWII

‘Polocaust museum’: Polish minister calls for commemoration of non-Jewish victims of WWII

Poland’s Deputy Minister of Culture has endorsed the creation of a special “Polocaust” museum to commemorate the non-Jews who died in Poland during World War II.

It is estimated that around three million ethnic Poles were among the six million people who were killed in Poland during the war. Minister Jarosław Sellin said in an interview on Poland’s Radio One that he regrets that Poland’s suffering isn’t more widely known around the world. He said it’s time “this terrible fate” was acknowledged.

Sellin made the comments following last week’s passing of the so-called “death camp” law, which made it a crime to suggest that Poland had any complicity in Nazi war crimes. The new law has provoked anger in Israel.

Discussing the law, Sellin said: "Compared with other nations, especially in this recent history, generally we have nothing to be ashamed of, we behaved as it should."

The idea for the “Polocaust” museum came in a newspaper article from influential columnist Marek Kochan. “Every state has the right to its own historical policy, Israel has it, Poland has it. The Polocaust is not the Holocaust. It is something different, but also threatening the existence of an entire nation. Polish victims also have the right to be commemorated,” Kochan wrote in the Rzeczpospolita newspaper.

READ MORE: Swastikas painted on Polish embassy in Israel after PM’s ‘Jewish Holocaust perpetrators’ remarks

"The State of Israel has succeeded in imposing a narrative reducing the victims of the war to the victims of the Holocaust. And yet no death resulting from criminal intentions is better or worse than another.”

Sellin threw his weight behind the idea. "I believe that the story of the fate of Poles during the Second World War ... deserves such a story,” he said.

The minister was on the radio program to discuss plans to open a museum dedicated to Poles who saved Jews during World War II in New York.

Such a museum already exists in Poland and Sellin said they are planning to open one in Manhattan because New York is “the city where the most Jews in the world live, not in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv”.

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