Controversial priest is behind Polish museum highlighting Christian rescuers of Jews
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Controversial priest is behind Polish museum highlighting Christian rescuers of Jews

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – A new museum in Poland will exhibit over 40,000 accounts of Polish Christians who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage will donate $22 million to the Saint John Paul II Memory and Identity Museum. Its goal is to present the over 1,000-year history of Christian Poland with particular emphasis on the teachings of Pope John Paul II and its impact on the fate of Poland, Europe and the world.

The museum, located in Toruń, will be run by the Lux Veritatis Foundation associated with the controversial Roman Catholic priest Tadeusz Rydzyk, who for years ran a radio station that espoused anti-Semitic views.

Part of the exposition will feature the accounts by witnesses on the rescue of Jews by Poles during World War II. Rydzyk and the Lux Veritatis Foundation have collected the accounts since 1995.

“The museum will fill an important gap in our museum offerings, which still does not sufficiently cover both the axiology of John Paul II and the issues of Polish-Jewish relations during World War II,” Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński said in a statement.

A museum director has not been named.

Rydzyk, who runs the Catholic radio station Maryja, is accused of promoting anti-Semitism. According to a U.S. State Department report from 2008, “Radio Maryja is one of Europe’s most blatantly anti-Semitic media venues.” A Council of Europe report said that Radio Maryja has been “openly inciting anti-Semitism for several years.”

In recent years, Rydzyk has tried to change his image. In 2016, he met with Israeli Ambassador to Poland Anna Azari. He also collaborated with Jonny Daniels, founder of the From the Depths foundation dedicated to commemorating Jewish heritage.