WARSAW, Poland — Polish officials have intervened to prevent an author accused of anti-Semitism from receiving an award at a Polish diplomatic outpost in the United States.
A private US-based Polish organization had planned to give awards at the Polish consulate in New York next week to three people. One, Polish author Ewa Kurek, has claimed that Jews had fun in the ghettos during the German occupation of Poland during World War II.
Kurek’s views are offensive to relatives of Holocaust survivors. Never Again, an anti-racism association in Warsaw, raised alarm this week about the nature of Kurek’s writings. Polish media have reported on the controversy.
The initiative was threatening to become another public relations headache for Poland’s government, which has been dealing all year with an international backlash to a Holocaust speech law that angered Israel and that many see as attempted historical revisionism.
Andrzej Pawluszek, an adviser to Poland’s prime minister, said Wednesday that the award was never a government initiative, but authorities acted to stop an event that would have been divisive.
One of the others set to receive an award at the consulate event was Matthew Tyrmand, an American right-wing political activist and contributor to Breitbart News.
Tyrmand expressed relief that the Polish government withdrew permission for a room to be used to honor a “divisive” person such as Kurek.
“Common sense prevailed,” Tyrmand said. “Nobody wanted to be in a room with her, including me.”