Duda Day: Polish President Bests Putin In Holocaust Brawl

IN Jerusalem on Monday, world leaders will begin arriving to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. The large-scale event is part of a broader Fifth World Holocaust Forum dedicated both to remembrance and the renewed condemnation of antisemitism. It will be hosted by Yad Vashem (Israel’s official Holocaust memorial). Organisers say they don’t want the event to become an arena for ongoing historical fights, most especially the one underway between Poland and Russia. It already is, however, and the way the bout has been managed so far does not reflect well on Yad Vashem. More on that to come. Poland will host its own commemoration of the liberation on 27 January (International Holocaust Remembrance Day) but Vladimir Putin will not attend. Putin is enraged by Poland’s attribution to his country of joint responsibility for World War II owing to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and the secret protocols that led to the annexation of Polish territories 17 days after Germany’s invasion sparked the formal outbreak of hostilities. On Poland’s initiative, the European Parliament marked the anniversary of the Pact last year – to Russia’s disgust. Warsaw also believes Poland’s commemoration should take logical precedence, historically and prestige-wise, over Israel’s.

Not surprisingly, the fallout from these nasty contretemps has made planning the Jerusalem event complex. Already, officials have been forced to explain the decision to invite Andrzej Duda to attend but not to speak – as leaders of other WWII principals, including Putin, will. It is thought the Russian President intends to re-state a charge he made after the Pact commemoration in December – to the effect that Poland itself was partly responsible for the war thanks to the allegedly sinister dealings of Jozef Lipski, “an anti-Semitic swine” Putin called Poland’s war-time ambassador to Germany. President Duda refuses to be present, let alone silent, as such incendiary claims are repeated. Consequently, he will not attend the Israeli commemoration.

For its part, Yad Vashem refuses to be drawn into polemical warring between the two nations. However shameful his historical distortions and Pact denialism, nor will it reprimand Vladimir Putin under any circumstances. As the Jerusalem Post notes, the World Holocaust Forum is bankrolled by billionaire Russian-Jewish oligarch Moshe Kantor, a close friend and associate of the Russian President. While the decision to schedule as speakers only leaders of Allied nations and Germany seems neat on the face of it, millions of the Nazis’ victims were Poles and Poland is where – and why – the war began. President Duda has a right to be angry. As to whether it was prudent to draw attention to the 23-month partnership between Stalin and Hitler – 1939 to 1941 – opinions may vary but only one gels with what Yad Vashem is meant to be all about: remembering the ugly truth. There is no uglier one than that money talks. If Yad Vashem’s continued obsession with Pope Pius XII is anything to go by – I believe it is – there may be a back-story to Poland’s marginalisation: the nation is the most Catholic of proxies imaginable in the post-war world.

With frantic anti-Christian/anti-Western screeds appearing in the Israeli press in the run-up to the Holocaust anniversary – this one by Manfred Gerstenfeld makes reference to the “alleged son of God” when plain “Jesus” would obviously suffice – it may be time for Yad Vashem to take a longer look at itself. While the memorial’s official word on Pius XII bears the hallmarks of disinterested academic balance, the longstanding animosity to the war-time pontiff obviously perdures. “Roman Catholics might have been inspired to do more for Jews,” it asserts – ignoring the millions of Catholics who signed up to fight the Nazis and died doing so. The conflation of “the Vatican” with the Church and even with individual Catholics (who could have done “more”) is so jarringly inept intellectually that a suspicion arises that this is a prejudice too treasured to jettison. It seems Pope Pius has become the living embodiment of Christian history itself – with all of its lamentable anti-Jewish episodes – and cannot be paroled; culpability, once attributed, is salving and difficult to sacrifice. Nevertheless, criticising a leader with no army for supposedly not ‘speaking out’ (and getting thousands more killed) is morally dubious when contrasted with Yad Vashem’s effete aversion to offending Russia’s nuclear-armed tyrant. The only man to emerge from an affair Haaretz calls “dirty” is Andrzej Duda. Silenced but right.

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42 Responses to Duda Day: Polish President Bests Putin In Holocaust Brawl

  1. Whalehunt fun

    Care factor zero. I doubt Putin or the others orchestrated WW2. I am sick of 90% European DNA “aborigines” banging on about sh”t that happened in the 1700s and 1800s. And this contratemps falls into the same bucket.

  2. Whalehunt fun

    And the Irish bitching about Cromwell. NO. BODY. CARES.
    Apart from the dribbling sewer mouth named Keating.

  3. calli

    The memorial to the thousands of Righteous Among The Nations at Yad Vashem means far more than the ranting of a few idiots in the Israeli press.

  4. stackja

    Putin comment on Katyn Forest?

    The Katyn massacre was a series of mass executions of about 22,000 Polish military officers and intelligentsia carried out by the Soviet Union, specifically the NKVD in April and May 1940.

  5. Tom

    Excellent post, CL, exploring the internecine alleyways of 20th century history. Much appreciated.

  6. Tel

    Although Russia has admitted that Communism was a mistake, it’s sad that they cannot admit to openly and aggressively attacking Poland, without provocation. I suppose they are worried about additional sanctions and demands for compensation. Part of the never admit anything strategy that is so popular these days, same as Turkey not admitting to murdering orthodox Christians.

    To be fair, they should also apologize for attacking Germany without provocation and in breach of their treaty obligations.

    I mean, these things are hardly secret, are they?

  7. David

    “As to whether it was prudent to draw attention to the 23-month partnership between Stalin and Hitler – 1939 to 1941 – opinions may vary” – but it is a striking feature of Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Sword of Honour’ trilogy of novels about the war.

  8. max

    Until 1963, Pius was acknowledged as one of the righteous. Why no mention of the following in Yad Vashem, I wonder:

    Seat 12, also known as Operation Seat 12, was a disinformation campaign of communist propaganda during the Cold War to discredit the moral authority of the Vatican because of its outspoken anticommunism.[1][2][3] The plot was disclosed in 2007 by Ion Mihai Pacepa, a general who headed the Romanian secret service before defecting to the West in 1978.[4]

    Description
    According to Pacepa, in February 1960, Nikita Khrushchev authorized a covert operation to discredit the Vatican’s moral authority in Western Europe with a campaign of disinformation due to its fervent anticommunism, Pope Pius XII being the prime target. The motto of Seat 12 was “Dead men cannot defend themselves”, since Pius died in 1958. Pacepa states that General Ivan Agayants, chief of the KGB’s disinformation department, created the outline for what was to become a play mischaracterizing the Pope as a Nazi sympathizer, The Deputy; that the purported research for the play consisted of forgeries; that the research was done not by its claimed author Rolf Hochhuth, but by KGB agents; and that the play’s producer, Erwin Piscator, founder of the Proletarian Theater in Berlin who had sought asylum in the USSR during the war, was a devout Communist who had long established ties with the USSR.Seat 12, also known as Operation Seat 12, was a disinformation campaign of communist propaganda during the Cold War to discredit the moral authority of the Vatican because of its outspoken anticommunism. The plot was disclosed in 2007 by Ion Mihai Pacepa, a general who headed the Romanian secret service before defecting to the West in 1978.

    Description
    According to Pacepa, in February 1960, Nikita Khrushchev authorized a covert operation to discredit the Vatican’s moral authority in Western Europe with a campaign of disinformation due to its fervent anticommunism, Pope Pius XII being the prime target. The motto of Seat 12 was “Dead men cannot defend themselves”, since Pius died in 1958. Pacepa states that General Ivan Agayants, chief of the KGB’s disinformation department, created the outline for what was to become a play mischaracterizing the Pope as a Nazi sympathizer, The Deputy; that the purported research for the play consisted of forgeries;[6] that the research was done not by its claimed author Rolf Hochhuth, but by KGB agents; and that the play’s producer, Erwin Piscator, founder of the Proletarian Theater in Berlin who had sought asylum in the USSR during the war, was a devout Communist who had long established ties with the USSR.

  9. Dan

    ignoring the millions of Catholics who signed up to fight the Nazis and died doing so. T

    Literally thousands of Polish Catholics have been recognised as part of the “righteous amongst the nations” by the Israeli committee. Polish Catholics are the largest single group recognised. Almost one in three individuals awarded have been Polish Catholics. The amount of resources expended in researching and recognising these individuals has been enormous. People like Karski and Sendler and Miłosz are widely recognised as heroes of Jewish history.

  10. Professor Fred Lenin

    The pact between the two socialist dictators was always going to end in war,the socialist Hitler needed his “Lebensraum ” and the socialist Stalin grabbed some of Poland to keep the socialist Hitler at a distance . The similarities between the two socialist dictators methods gives you some idea of what socialism really is ,and how it desparately clings to the power it usurps .
    Dont tell me it cant happen these days ,just look at the kind of people attracted to socialist fascist globalism ,the successors to Hitler / Stalin.
    While the socialist Stalin did not enbark on racial persecution like the socialist Hitler ,Stalin caused the death of more people , but probably only because he was in power longer .
    To think Jews eagerly embraced socialism in both Russia and Germany and featured amongst the early bolsheviks ,Bronsteen (Trotsky ) being one of the leaders ,just look what happened to him . Corbyn still follows the Trotsky line ,but then again there are still people who worship the devil .

  11. Dan

    While the socialist Stalin did not enbark on racial persecution like the socialist Hitler ,

    Stalin and the Bolsheviks engaged in extensive cultural, ethnic and racial oppression. The Holodomor in Ukraine alone killed millions of people, then there were the Tatars and Turkic peoples and many others who were deported en masse and/or murdered.

  12. Dan

    Until 1963, Pius was acknowledged as one of the righteous.

    I’m pretty sure he was not. Yad Vashem was even more critical back then than they are now.

  13. Professor Fred Lenin

    Dan , what Im saying is that Stalin didnt have camps dedicated to murdering millions by gassing like the Wannasee crowd in Germany . The millions killed in the Ukraine by starvation and shooting was a byproduct of Dzerzhinsky and his OGPU eliminating the small business kulaks , Hitler and Stalin were a pair of evil bastards whose memory should be used constantly to remind people of the evil inherent in Marxist socialism ,its still there under the veneer of civilisation ,look at them trying to eliminate dissent and free speech these days .

  14. Natural Instinct

    Putin’s plan with natural gas supply to the West has won already.
    .
    That England and France do not slap Putin down, and dis-invite him, for failing a recognise a key phase of the WW2 conflict, i.e. German and Russian sharing the spoils of Eastern Europe shows how he wins the soft-power argument because of the hard power energy supplies.
    .
    Having lived 30km from Oświęcim for two years in the early 90’s and having visited other Holocaust sites in Poland, anything to downplay the savagery or avoid the truth for these places and events should be treated as crimes against humanity.
    .
    It happened. It happened on Polish soil. And the reason why the Germans were on Polish soil is….
    .
    .
    P.S. I refuse to use USSR for Russia, just as refuse to use “Nazis” instead of Germany – both are cop outs to geography and history. We would not say the “Conservatives” when we mean England, would we?

  15. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    Poland’s attribution to his country of joint responsibility for World War II owing to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and the secret protocols that led to the annexation of Polish territories 17 days after Germany’s invasion sparked the formal outbreak of hostilities

    stalin and hitler (i.e. the “leaders” of russia and germany*) were indisputably jointly responsible for the outbreak of hostilities in Europe in September 1939.

    This is beyond debate and anyone who disagrees with my statement above is an ahistorical imbecile.

    *The use of the latter identifiers is very deliberate.

  16. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    I refuse to use USSR for Russia, just as refuse to use “Nazis” instead of Germany

    Indeed NI, I hadn’t read down to your comment before posting mine. The idiotologies they march under may change, but the totalitarian jackbooted imbeciles doing the goose stepping remain indistinguishable.

  17. classical_hero

    There is some talk of America going into another civil war, but more likely it will be that the left has a civil war of sorts in ideology. We can see some split happening after the most recent Democratic Party debate after the attack on Sanders. It’s how the left works, the fight for ideological purity always gets done. It’s what happened in WW2 and it’ll happen here. The Life of Brian hilariously sends up the left when the two resistance groups fight against each other to see who can rightfully claim to be the true resistance.

  18. John A

    You can always trust the communists to be Communists.

    The disinformation battles continue to this day. See American Betrayal by Diana West

  19. Davey Boy

    Tangentially related perhaps, in a different hemisphere around that time we also had the Knights of the Bushido doing their thing

  20. BorisG

    It is absolutely true and abhorrent that Stalin’s contribution to the WWII was crucial. without his support both in terms of raw materials, mainly fuel, and quiet in the east, Hitler would not have been able to start the war in 1939.
    The fact that Putin (whom conservatives love so much) tries to condone this fact is shameful and disgusting.

    But it is also true that until 1939 Polish oppressive regime was Hitler’s best friend, even taking part in partition of Checkoslovakia.

    Hitler eventually betrayed both Poles and Russians, and killed millions of them, but neither nation has much to be proud of in this sad history.

  21. BorisG

    There is no uglier one than that money talks.

    Sure it is ugly but not sure it is the ugliest.

    And money is not the only reason for this imbalance. There are two other factors.

    1) Israel has its own spat with Poland over the memory of the Holocaust. Many Israelis are Polish Jews who fled Poland’s anti-semitism before, during and after WWII, and they view current Polish nationalistic government as trying to whitewash its past. A much as Bibi values Israel’s relationship with Poland, he cannot afford to antogonise this domestic constituency, especially on such a sensitive issue. I don’t think this extends to other Catholics, like the French for instance.

    2) as much as good relations with eastern Europe are important for Israel, relations with Russia are simply vital. Israelis have no illusions about Putin but they are in a very difficult position.

  22. BorisG

    There is no uglier one than that money talks.

    Sure it is ugly but not sure it is the ugliest. J

    And money is not the only reason for this imbalance. There are two other factors.
    1) Israel has its own spat with Poland over the memory of the Holocaust. Many Israelis are Polish Jooes who fled Poland’s anti-semitism before, during and after WWII, and they view current Polish nationalistic government as trying to whitewash its past. A much as Bibi values Israel’s relationship with Poland, he cannot afford to antogonise this domestic constituency, especially on such a sensitive issue. I don’t think this extends to other Catholics, like the French for instance.
    2) as much as good relations with eastern Europe are important for Israel, relations with Russia are simply vital. Israelis have no illusions about Putin but they are in a very difficult position.

  23. BorisG

    And while we are at it, Yad Vashem is relatively independent of the government, but, I suspect, not when it comes to anything related to the visit of Russia’s dear leader. He is playing in a different league, you know…

  24. jupes

    The fact that Putin (whom conservatives love so much)

    Fuck off dickhead.

  25. BorisG,

    Oh oh I am so scared of little jupes the clown…

  26. BorisG,

    Note that most of Europe’s right wing figures love Putin, such as conservative icons Victor Urban, Matteo Salvini and Marie La Pen. Duda is a notable exception. Easily explained by history.

  27. Entropy

    While I usually read your comments with interest Boris, there is no need to claim conservatives love Putin. He is a former KGB head kicker. At most it could be an enemy of my enemy is my friend type of thing. But nobody is deluded by his strong man tendencies.

  28. Mark A

    BorisG,
    #3296439, posted on January 19, 2020 at 2:44 am

    Note that most of Europe’s right wing figures love Putin, such as conservative icons Victor Urban,

    First it’s Orbán, second there is no love, just some respect and a lot of economic interest.
    you do get carried away with your hatred.

  29. Iampeter

    With frantic anti-Christian/anti-Western screeds appearing in the Israeli press in the run-up to the Holocaust anniversary – this one by Manfred Gerstenfeld

    Anti-Christian is not anti-Western and you’re intentionally misleading the readers here as to the subject of that article.
    It is rightly pointing out the Christian origins of antisemitism as we know it. There should be a lot more coverage of this fact especially on this occasion.

    Trying to evade this is as vile and dishonest as trying to evade the facts of the holocaust itself.

  30. struth

    Facts.
    The west was founded in Christianity and it’s laws are based on the morality of the bible.
    Until recently you would never have found anyone dumb enough to dispute it.
    I swear on the bible.
    Christianity is not understood by the ahistorical religiously uneducated morons like Iampoyda who think it’s something akin to an SBS depiction.

  31. BorisG,

    While I usually read your comments with interest Boris, there is no need to claim conservatives love Putin. He is a former KGB head kicker. At most it could be an enemy of my enemy is my friend type of thing. But nobody is deluded by his strong man tendencies.

    Good. Unfortunately I have also read on this blog that Putin is great, he has reined in gay propaganda, oversaw Christian revival in Russia etc.

  32. BorisG,

    There should be a lot more coverage of this fact especially on this occasion.

    While Christianity was anti Semitic for centuries, Nazi policies have nothing to do with Christianity.

  33. BorisG,

    First it’s Orbán, second there is no love, just some respect and a lot of economic interest.

    Putin is an authoritarian and an aggressor and he does not deserve ’some respect’. In practice this respect means proposals for lifting sanctions imposed after Putin invaded its neighbors. if it was not for strong position of Poland and Baltic states, deaths and destruction in Ukraine would have been forgotten by now.

  34. Lee

    The fact that Putin (whom conservatives love so much) …

    Not this one.

  35. BorisG,

    Guys may I suggest that conservatives relationship with Putin is an interesting topic and deserves another discussion. Can we get back to the essence of this post? Any thoughts on the substance of my comment?

  36. Pyrmonter

    CL

    Many Roman Catholics (and other christians, pagans, people of no faith or others) opposed fascism (and commuism). Sadly, not a few of all those descriptions supported it. To pretend the RC church was especially advantaged is, sadly, something of an illusion:

    https://www.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20697.pdf

  37. Guys may I suggest that conservatives relationship with Putin is an interesting topic and deserves another discussion.

    Nah.

    Let’s not forget he was an asset of the KGB, but also the Stasi.

    He’s a piece of shit.

  38. JC

    Guys may I suggest that conservatives relationship with Putin is an interesting topic and deserves another discussion.

    Okay, but I’m on the right and think Putin is a complete turd.

  39. Nob

    Me too, and I do business in Russia and can see some positive changes.

  40. Rafe Champion

    It is a bit like the problem of forming a balanced view of Deng who precipitated the economic (capitalist) reforms that released billions from grinding poverty and later sent the tanks into Tiananamen Square. The best you can say is that if he didn’t do it some more hard line bastard might have won the bitter debate in the leadership about what to do about the protest. It happened after the President Hu Yaobang died suddenly in the middle of the argument in the party room. Not assassinated apparently. He was Deng’s strong right arm and also the leader of the liberal reformers such as they were in the Party. You could say the tanks went in over Hu’s dead body.

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