German Foreign Minister Sigmar backs Poland’s decision to criminalize suggestions that the nation was complicit in the Holocaust, stating it ‘was carried out by our country and no one else.’
The Associated Press and Reuters
Germany’s foreign minister said Saturday that the Holocaust was carried out by Germany alone, backing Poland’s side in a debate over their complicity in the genocide.
“This organized mass murder was carried out by our country and no one else. Individual collaborators change nothing about that,” Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.
Gabriel’s remark was made in the wake of a political rift between Poland and Israel over a newly approved legislation penalizing suggestions of any complicity by Poland in the Nazi Holocaust on its soil during World War II.
The United States has recently backed Israel’s side in the debate, claiming the bill would impact free expression and urging Polish President Andrzej Duda to veto it.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki rejected this notion, saying on Thursday that Poland would never limit the freedom to debate the Holocaust and that Warsaw understood Israel’s emotions about the issue.
In his statement, Gabriel added that Poland can rely on his country to condemn distortions of history such as descriptions of Nazi camps in occupied Poland as “Polish concentration camps,” which Poland vehemently objects to.
On twitter, the Foreign Minister reiterated this position, saying there can be “no doubt” as to whether or not Poland was complicit in the extermination of Jews.
“For 15 years I organized youth trips to Auschwitz and Majdanek. That these camps were German—there can be no doubt about that! The use of the term ‘Polish death camp’ is incorrect,” he tweeted.
The Foreign Minister concluded his message to Poland by stressing that the people in German are “convinced that only carefully appraising our own history can bring reconciliation.”
“That includes people who had to experience the intolerable suffering of the Holocaust being able to speak unrestrictedly about this suffering,” he emphasized.