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Jerusalem - Yad Vashem Questions Honors For 3 Poles As Holocaust-era Rescuers Of Jews

Published on: September 13, 2018 01:24 PM
By: JTA
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Founder of the foundation "From the Depths" Jonny Daniels (C), Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński (CP) and soldier of the Home Army, participant of the Warsaw Uprising Julian Eugeniusz Kulski (L) during the ceremony of awarding decorations "From the Depths for the Righteous Edward Mosberg" for Poles who saved Jews during World War II.Founder of the foundation "From the Depths" Jonny Daniels (C), Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński (CP) and soldier of the Home Army, participant of the Warsaw Uprising Julian Eugeniusz Kulski (L) during the ceremony of awarding decorations "From the Depths for the Righteous Edward Mosberg" for Poles who saved Jews during World War II.

Jerusalem - Israel’s state Holocaust museum expressed concerns over a Polish group honoring three people it did not recognize as having risked their lives to save Jews.

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Joel Zisenwine, the director of the Yad Vashem museum’s Righteous Among the Nations department, said there is “fear that these actions may lead to misleading the public” in an email he sent this month to Holocaust commemoration activist Meir Bulka in Israel, who runs the JNerations group.

Bulka had written to Zisenwine to complain about the honoring of three people in Warsaw last month by the From the Depths organization, which was founded by Jonny Daniels, an Israeli-British activist. Daniels has said the three honorees saved some 3,000 people by granting them documents that allowed them to escape.

“The basis for Daniels’ awarding of honors to rescuers of Jews is entirely unclear,” Zisenwine wrote.

One of the honorees, Julian Kulski, reportedly “had been appointed by the Nazis as acting mayor of Warsaw, demanding the leadership of the local Ghetto to reduce its size, vacate apartments etc.” Zisenwine wrote.

Yad Vashem had considered a request for recognition by the man’s son, but rejected it in the 1980s “due to conflicting testimonies and contradictions with other sources, that give a slightly different picture of his attitude to Jews,” Zisenwine said.

Among those who said Kulski helped saved the lives of Jews was Duda Falik, who told Yad Vashem in 1980 that Kulski hid her parents from 1940 to 1944.
Daniels told JTA that his group did not give any titles but defended its decision “to say thank you” to Kulski and any other person that it deems worthy of such a gesture based on its research and that of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance.

Recognition of Poles for saving Jews in the Holocaust is a sensitive issue.

Efforts in this field by Poland’s right-wing government have exposed it to criticism by some Jews who say it is highlighting Holocaust-era heroism to eclipse complicity.

Yad Vashem has recognized 6,863 Polish Righteous — far more than in any other country. But in February, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Warsaw alone had 90,000-150,000 people who risked their lives to save Jews.

Daniels’ advocates say he has made partnerships that reduce anti-Semitic rhetoric there. His critics, including Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, have accused him of helping the government politicize debate over the Holocaust, including in its passing this year of a controversial law making it illegal to blame Poland for Nazi crimes.

Daniels, who in February criticized a statement by Morawiecki as a form of “Holocaust denial,” defended his work as apolitical and devoted to preserving the memory of the Holocaust, as well as building cultural ties between Poland and Israel.

“We wish there were more Jewish foundations stepping forward to say thank you,” Daniels told JTA about the Yad Vashem criticism. His group, which interviews survivors and rescuers for testimonial films, will be holding additional events in the coming weeks to express gratitude to those it considers rescuers, he said, as “time is absolutely running out.”



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Read Comments (3)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Sep 13, 2018 at 01:58 PM Judith Says:

While i don't know anything about these particular Poles, I do know that Yad Vashem is exceedingly strict, sometimes too much so, about accepting petitions for honors. I tried to get two Hungarians , who helped save my father, honored by Yad Vashem. They rejected the petition for lack of evidence. My father's word wasn't good enough.

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 Sep 13, 2018 at 02:40 PM lipa101 Says:

My father came from Poland and went through SIX YEARS in Ghettos and CONCENTRATION CAMPS. He said there were many Poles who were WORSE than the Nazis and KILLED Jews during the war for no reason. HY"D

So to honor a Pole that saved Jews there MUST be FULL PROOF

3

 Sep 13, 2018 at 02:50 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Judith Says:

While i don't know anything about these particular Poles, I do know that Yad Vashem is exceedingly strict, sometimes too much so, about accepting petitions for honors. I tried to get two Hungarians , who helped save my father, honored by Yad Vashem. They rejected the petition for lack of evidence. My father's word wasn't good enough.

With all due respect Judith, in your parents case, not honoring someone based on a single persons word does not mean Yad Vashem is being overly strict. In the case of this article, it specifically says there were conflicting reports where one of these people actually helped the Nazis.

4

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