(JTA) — Polish far-right nationalists demonstrated at Auschwitz at the same time as the annual ceremony marking the camp’s liberation.
The demonstrators, led by Piotr Rybak of the Polish Independence Movement, were protesting the emphasis on the Jews killed at Auschwitz and not the Poles killed by the Nazis.
The protest and the ceremony took place on Sunday, Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It is the first time that the far right has protested at the annual ceremony, Reuters reported.
The ceremony is ecumenical, and recognizes all of the victims of Auschwitz, according to reports. During this year’s ceremony, survivors in attendance recounted their own experiences. Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, read out the names of all the Nazi camps, and Christian and Jewish leaders prayed together near the ruins of the gas chambers and crematoria.
“The Jewish nation and Israel is doing everything to change the history of the Polish nation,” Rybak said, according to Reuters. “Polish patriots cannot allow this.”
In 2017, Rybak was convicted of the 2015 burning in effigy of a haredi Jew during an anti-Muslim demonstration against accepting Syrian refugees in Poland. He later explained that it was meant to represent George Soros, the Jewish investor and philanthropist who has advocated for a common European asylum policy.