Photo Credit: Yossi Zeliger / Flash 90
Jewish youth from all over the world participating in the March of the Living walk the tracks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp site in Poland. (illustrative)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly responded Saturday night to remarks at the Munich Security Conference by Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who claimed on Saturday there were “Jewish perpetrators” of the Holocaust.

“The Polish Prime Minister’s remarks here in Munich are outrageous,” Netanyahu said in a curt statement sent to media after the conclusion of the Sabbath in Israel.


“There is a problem here of an inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people,” he added.

“I intend to speak with him forthwith.”

Morawiecki was responding to a question by an Israeli journalist who questioned whether writing the story of his own mother’s survival of the Holocaust in Poland wouldn’t land him in a courtroom. The question was raised regarding Poland’s new law criminalizing public statements “falsely” blaming the government, nation or Polish citizens for perpetrating or collaborating with Nazi crimes during World War II.

Last week the Polish government also decided to “re-examine” a draft bill to compensate Holocaust survivors for property confiscated from Jews during World War II, according to Ynet.

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) has expressed concern the Polish Justice Ministry will put the bill on hold for the foreseeable future.

The measure was published in October and was to have been approved by the end of 2017, but never was. Under the proposed legislation, a survivor who wishes to file a claim must be a Polish citizen (today) who lived in the country when their property was confiscated by the communist regime. Most survivors who left Poland during or immediately after the Holocaust would not be eligible to file a lawsuit under the conditions of the bill as it is currently written.

On other matters, Netanyahu met last week with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres along the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, and told him the Golan Heights will remain in Israel’s hands forever.

The prime minister said Israel will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria and added that Israel will act against any Iranian attempt to build bases in Syria.

Netanyahu also thanked Guterres for holding an informal UN Security Council discussion on the two IDF fallen soldiers and three Israeli civilians being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. The prime minister called for additional determined action on the issue.