Polish rabbi rails against invitation to honor Nazi collaborators

Poland’s chief rabbi Rabbi Michael Schudrich is criticizing plans by the country’s right-wing government to honor a group of ultra-nationalist underground fighters accused of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II.

Shudrich says he felt “insulted” by an invitation from the Polish veterans’ affairs ministry to a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Swietokrzyska Brigade.

The event will be held under the auspices of President Andrzej Duda.

Michael Schudrich, Poland’s chief rabbi, reciting a prayer for the victims of the Jedwabne massacre at the town’s Jewish cemetery, July 10, 2016. Second from left is Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

“The organization of these ceremonies insults the memory of all Polish citizens killed in the fight against Germany,” Schudrich says in a letter addressed to Veterans’ Affairs Minister Jan Kasprzyk.

The Swietokrzyska brigade, comprised of some 850 to 1,400 men, is accused of collaborating with the Nazis against the Soviets as the Red Army advanced from the east across Polish territory toward the end of the war.

“These anti-communists, they killed Germans, Russians and they killed Jews” who were Polish citizens, Schudrich tells AFP.


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