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Jewish leader quits Auschwitz board over right-wing politician’s nomination

Beata Szydlo of Poland’s Law and Justice party nominated to state’s museum board; her faction has been accused of manipulating the historical record on the Holocaust

Beata Szydło, then the prime minister of Poland, speaks to reporters in Warsaw, July 31, 2016. (Kancelaria Premiera via JTA)
Beata Szydło, then the prime minister of Poland, speaks to reporters in Warsaw, July 31, 2016. (Kancelaria Premiera via JTA)

JTA — A Polish right-wing politician has been appointed to a board of the Auschwitz state museum, leading to a Jewish member’s resignation on Wednesday amid claims of politicization.

Stanislaw Krajewski said he would be leaving the International Auschwitz Council over the nomination of the Law and Justice party’s Beata Szydlo, Onet reported.

Culture Minister Piotr Gliński, a member of the same right-wing party, on Tuesday announced the nomination of Szydło, who had served as prime minister for nearly two years until 2017.

“I understand it as a politicization of the Council,” Krajewski, a philosopher and former leader of Polish Jewry, wrote in a letter to Gliński, Onet reported. “In such a situation, I do not see any possibility for myself to continue my function within its framework.”

Stanislaw Krajewski, a University of Warsaw professor and prominent member of the Jewish community on February 25, 2019 in Warsaw, Poland. (Janek Skarzynski/AFP)

Under Law and Justice, Poland has been accused of manipulating the historical record on the Holocaust — an allegation the party has rejected, arguing it is preserving the country from such abuse. In 2019, Law and Justice passed a controversial law that outlaws blaming Poland for the Holocaust.

The Auschwitz state museum has largely stayed out of that debate and maintained its status internationally as a major site of preservation and research.

However, the museum was largely seen as having politicized its capacity as a venue for Holocaust commemoration ceremonies, in which Poland’s government under Law and Justice effectively disinvited Russian President Vladimir Putin from attending.

Russian troops liberated the Auschwitz camp, which Nazi Germany built in occupied Poland.

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