12 February 2018, 11:30
Chief rabbi of Russia - against initiative of Poland law-makers to punish for wording 'Polish death camps'
Moscow, February 12, Interfax - Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar spoke against renovating Polish law about the Institute of national memory and introducing punishment for wording "the Polish death camp."
"If they declare that there is no responsibility and "close the chapter," then it will lead to very sad results. History is not only the past, it is the past that influence the present each day and each hour," he writes in his article published by Izvestia daily.
The renewed law also introduces punishment for spreading other facts about participation of Polish nation in Holocaust, which the country's authorities do not believe to be true. According to the rabbi, the logic of the lawmakers is the following: Poland did not exist as state in the years of genocide, it was the territory occupied by Nazis and local population did not have any political rights.
"Correspondently, the Polish people could not prohibit Nazis to build dozens of death camps at their territory, where they killed Jews. However, people behaved in different ways in that terrific reality," Lazar writes.
He noted that there were "righteous people who tried to save Jews, even with risk to their lives and to their relatives."
"We will always remember and thank these righteous people as well as we will remember and thank soldiers of the Red Army who liberated prisoners of the camps," he stressed.
The chief rabbi of Russia noted that "unfortunately there were collaborationists who cooperated with Nazi executioners: we understand that the law adopted in Poland does not refer to these criminals."
"But the main question is still open: what about those people who knew, but kept silence? Those, who lived near Auschwitz and Treblinka, who knew that people are killed there every day, but did nothing and said nothing, they remained indifferent. Shouldn't these people bear moral responsibility?" the Jewish leader asks stressing that "every person should feel responsibility for the things happening around him."