A joint Israeli-Polish Holocaust remembrance ceremony was abruptly called off on Monday after Polish authorities insisting on censoring a speech to be delivered by an Israeli mayor, according to media reports.
The mayor of Kiryat Bialik, Eli Dukorsky, had prepared remarks for a delegation of students from his city currently visiting Poland. But before he did so, his counterpart, the mayor of Kiryat Bialik’s Polish “twin city” Radomsko, Jarosław Ferenc, informed him that local authorities wanted to see the speech first.
The speech, contained personal accounts of the Holocaust and references to Polish bystanders and collaborators, as well as Polish “Righteous among the Nations” honored by Yad Vashem.
Dukorsky was asked to delete certain parts which were deemed unacceptable under the new Holocaust law which forbids mention of Polish complicity in the Holocaust.
The mayor then consulted the Israeli Foreign Ministry on how to proceed, and was advised to refuse the censorship of his text. When he did so, the Polish officials cancelled the ceremony.
In a statement sent to The Jerusalem Post, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said:
“Indeed, the mayor of Kiryat Bialik approached me and after consulting with the professional staff of the Foreign Ministry, Israel is not prepared to compromise on historical facts. In remembering painful events from the Holocaust, there is no intention to blame the entire Polish nation. It’s important that we continue in an open and honest dialogue between the two sides. I am sorry to hear that the Radomsko municipality in Poland canceled the joint ceremony,” she said.