Poland: Neo-Nazis gather on Polish death camp to protest International Holocaust Day
A neo-Nazi Polish nationalist party gathered with other anti-Semites outside the Auschwitz death camp to protest Poland’s government observance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The neo-Nazi, Piotr Rybak, and about 45 others carrying the national flag sought to enter the Holocaust memorial site to place a wreath on the 74th anniversary of the liberation of the Polish death camp, while accusing the government of remembering only Jews and not murdered Poles in yearly observances at the memorial site.
That accusation is incorrect. The Auschwitz observances are inclusive and ecumenical, paying homage to all of the camp’s victims.
In 2017, Rybak was sentenced to three months in prison for burning an effigy of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man.
The incident comes amid a surge of far-right extremism in Poland. The current ultra-nationalist government is attempting to rewrite history and curb some of today’s basic freedoms like the rule of law and freedom of expression.
Earlier this year, Polish lawmakers voted to water down a Holocaust denial law that angered the United States and Israel, and removed parts that imposed jail terms on people who mention Poland’s active role in Nazi atrocities and make the use of phrases such as “Polish Death Camps” to refer to the Polish death camps, punishable.