Polish culture minister criticizes European history museum for falsely portraying his country’s Holocaust role


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Poland’s culture minister criticized an exhibit at the House of European History in Brussels for “showing Poland, France and Ukraine as co-perpetrators of the Holocaust, and the Germans as a country which cultivates memory of the Holocaust.”

Polish Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński wrote a letter on Friday to Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, which sponsored the exhibit.

“The exhibition’s narrative shows that the greatest victims of World War II were the Germans, without indicating their role as aggressors and initiators of the Second World War and without counting the civilian victims of German warfare throughout Europe,” Gliński wrote in the letter.

The minister of culture stated in his letter that he received many notices critical of the exhibition since it opened in May. He did not mention whether he has seen the exhibition himself.

“The most important Pole in history, extremely recognized for the unification of Europe, the Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) was not mentioned at all,” wrote Gliński. “Józef Piłsudski, the second most popular character in Polish history, was falsely portrayed as a fascist.”

Piłsudski was the Marshal of Poland, the highest rank in the Polish army, who led the country to regaining its independence in 1918. He protected all national minorities in Poland, and after his death in 1935 a nationalist movement developed, leading to pogroms against Jews before World War II.

“It also seems that the presentation of religion and the idea of the nation as a source of all evil in the history of our continent is an expression of the ideological, leftist doggedness of the creators of this exhibition,” the minister said in his letter.

The items on display in the permanent exhibition of the House of European History were gathered from about 300 museums and collections from all over Europe and the world. Polish partners of the House of European History are: Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, European Solidarity Center, National Museum, Presidential Chancellery, Polish Army Museum, Warsaw Uprising Museum, Jewish Historical Institute, Museum of Independence, and Historical Museum of Warsaw.


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