Poland FIRES its envoy for Jews after ‘Holocaust law’ interview with Jewish News

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Poland FIRES its envoy for Jews after ‘Holocaust law’ interview with Jewish News

Jaroslaw Marek Nowak, appointed just six months ago to improve his country's relations with Jews and Israel, was dismissed after saying a Polish law regulating Holocaust speech was “stupid”.

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

Jaroslaw Marek Nowak, Poland's envoy for the Jewish community
Jaroslaw Marek Nowak, Poland's envoy for the Jewish community, was fired on Saturday

A Polish diplomat appointed to improve relations with the Jewish community has been fired after describing one of his country’s laws on the Holocaust as “stupid”.

Jaroslaw Marek Nowak, who had been appointed by Poland’s foreign minister just six months ago, made the remark during an interview with Jewish News published last week.

He was referring to a controversial 2018 law that allowed government officials to prosecute historians if their research suggested Poles were complicit in the Holocaust.

Widely condemned by Israel and Jewish communities at the time, the law was subsequently watered down but not revoked.

Some historians were subsequently pursued in court, including professors Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski, who were ordered to apologise to the relative of a man they said had collaborated with Nazis during the Second World War.

Nowak said in his wide-ranging interview with Jewish News, which was conducted during his visit to London last month, that it had been “one of the stupidest amendments that were ever done by any law.”

The correct way to challenge someone’s research was to publish a rebuttal article that presents counterarguments, he said.

But the interview triggered anger among some nationalist politicians in Poland after it was published last week.

Łukasz Jasina, a spokesman for Poland’s foreign ministry, announced in a tweet on Monday morning: “On January 8, 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau decided to dismiss Mr. Jarosław Nowak from his position.”

Jewish News has contacted the Polish Foreign Ministry for comment.

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