Israeli reserve officer disciplined for sign at Auschwitz blaming Poles for complicity with Nazis


(JTA) — An Israeli reserve officer visiting Poland with the Israel Defense Forces will be disciplined for holding up a sign at the Nazi Auschwitz camp that read “You too played a part.”

The incident occurred on Thursday, according to reports.

The officer was participating in the military’s “Witnesses in Uniform” project.

The sign was written in Polish. It was in protest of controversial legislation passed in February by the Polish Parliament which criminalizes blaming the Polish nation for Nazi crimes.

IDF officials with the group of officers at the site took the sign away and told the Polish security guards that they would handle the incident internally. The soldier was not immediately returned to Israel, arriving home with the rest of the delegation. He is scheduled to be disciplined in the coming days, despite Israel’s objection to the law.

The passage of the law has created tension and disagreement between Poland and Israel. The law is under review in Constitutional Court before it can take effect. Poland’s attorney general said in a nonbinding opinion that the court should shelve the parts of the law that have drawn criticism.

Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and others have harshly criticized the law, which could lead to a prison sentence of up to three years, because, they claim, while it ostensibly targets those who say Poles collectively were responsible for the Holocaust, it could also be interpreted as criminalizing any reporting of Polish anti-Semitism during the period around the Holocaust, and any reporting of Poles who collaborated with Nazis.

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