Majority of Israelis think Poland has to take more responsibility for Holocaust crimes


JERUSALEM (JTA) — More than three-quarters of Israelis believe that Poland has yet to take sufficient responsibility for the role Poles played in the Holocaust, according to a survey commissioned by the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv.

Keevoon Global Research surveyed more than 1,027 Israelis in December, with 76 percent faulting Poland for not fully acknowledging Polish responsibility for what happened to Jews in the country during World War II, and 49 percent saying that they see the eastern European nation in an unfavorable light.

Relations between Warsaw and Jerusalem took a major hit last year with the passage of legislation in Poland making it a crime to claim the country responsible for Nazi crimes.

Seventy-two percent of Israelis surveyed in the poll released Thursday agreed that “during the Holocaust, Poles were also victims of Nazi oppression even though their suffering cannot be compared to the tragedy of the Jewish nation.”

Polish Ambassador Marek Magierowski was quoted in Haaretz as lamenting that many Israelis do not base their perception of Poland on contemporary realities there.

“We’d like you to get to know the modern Poland, including Polish cuisine and jazz,” Magierowski said. “When Israelis return from a first-time visit to Poland, they say that they had expected to see a sad country, a post-Communist one, but had discovered a Western country. Between the two extremes – a visit to Auschwitz and a visit to a Warsaw shopping mall – there are a lot of grey areas Israelis don’t know.”

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