Category Archive: Times of Israel

Berlin celebrates post-WWII visitor program for expelled Jews

‘I thought I’d never come back,’ says Holocaust survivor Helga Melmed, 91, who returned to her hometown in 1977 as part of the program, now celebrating its 50th anniversary

In this September 11, 2019, photo, Holocaust survivor Helga Melmed poses for a portrait during an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of a program for people expelled and persecuted by the Nazis and bringing tens of thousands of them back to their home city for one-week trips in Berlin. (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)

In this September 11, 2019, photo, Holocaust survivor Helga Melmed poses for a portrait during an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of a program for people expelled and persecuted by the Nazis and bringing tens of thousands of them back to their home city for one-week trips in Berlin. (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)

BERLIN, Germany (AP) — Berlin was the last place Helga Melmed had expected to see again.

She was 14 when the Nazis forced her and her family onto a train from their home in the German capital to the Jewish ghetto in Lodz, Poland, in 1941.

For years, she never considered returning to Germany until she was invited in 1977 on a trip by the city of her birth, in a reconciliation program meant to help mend ties with former Berliners who had been forced out by the Nazis.

Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the program has successfully brought people like Melmed on one-week trips to Berlin to reacquaint themselves with the city. Some 35,000 people have accepted the invitation since it was first issued in 1969, and while the numbers are dwindling a few new participants still come every year.

“I thought I’d never come back,” Melmed, 91, who emigrated to the US via Sweden after the war, told The Associated Press in an interview.

The “invitation program for former refugees” has brought back primarily Jewish emigrants who fled the Nazis, or those like Melmed who survived their machinery of genocide.

In this file photo taken during World War II, Jewish women and children get off coaches after arriving in the Auschwitz extermination camp. (INTERFOTO/AFP)

On Wednesday, she and other former program participants were invited to Berlin City Hall to celebrate the half-century anniversary.

At a ceremony mayor Michael Mueller thanked them for coming back — despite all they suffered at the hands of the Germans.

“Many people followed our invitation, people who had lost everything they loved,” he said. “I want to express my strong gratitude to you for putting your trust in us.”

Despite skepticism at the time that anyone persecuted by the Nazis would want to return, in 1970 — one year after the program’s launch — there was already a waiting list of 10,000 former Berliners who wanted to come back for a visit.

More than 100 other German cities and towns have instituted similar programs but no municipality has brought back as many former residents as the capital.

Berlin, of course, also had the biggest Jewish community before the Holocaust. In 1933, the year the Nazis came to power, around 160,500 Jews lived in Berlin. By the end of World War II in 1945 their numbers had diminished to about 7,000 — through emigration and extermination.

All in all, some six million European Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

Melmed’s father was shot dead in the Lodz ghetto — where the Nazis concentrated Jews and forced them to work in factories — a few months after their arrival and her mother died of exhaustion a few months later, shortly after Melmed’s 15th birthday.

Melmed, who lives in Venice, Florida, received her invitation under the reconciliation program 42 years ago.

In this September 11, 2019 photo, Holocaust survivor Helga Melmed poses for a portrait during an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of a program for people expelled and persecuted by the Nazis and bringing tens of thousands of them back to their home city for one-week trips in Berlin. (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)

“One day, out of the blue, I found a letter in the mailbox inviting me to come back for a visit,” the retired nurse said at the hotel where she was staying with two of her four children and a grandson.

“So, in 1977, my husband and I traveled to Berlin.”

They were part of an organized group tour of dozens of other former Berliners who had been persecuted by the Nazis.

“I don’t know if the trip was a dream or a nightmare,” Melmed said. One afternoon, she went for a coffee at Berlin’s famous Kempinski Hotel — today called the Bristol Hotel — just like she used to do as a little girl with her mother and dad, a banking executive.

“It was heartbreaking,” Melmed said.

Her life story is chronicled in the exhibition “Charter Flight into the Past” about the program, which opened Thursday at Berlin’s City Hall and will run through October 9.

Johannes Tuchel, the director of the German Resistance Memorial Center, which curated the exhibition, said that many returnees had conflicting emotions.

They didn’t trust the Germans — especially in the early years of the program, when many people they saw in the streets still belonged to the Nazi generation. Often, memories of loss and pain were stirred up by the visit, but at the same time many were also able to reconnect with a city that harbored many happy childhood mementos for them.

For Melmed, closure came only at an old age. In 2018, when she turned 90, she decided to return once again to Berlin. It was then that she met the current tenants of her old family home in the Wilmersdorf neighborhood of Berlin. They invited her back into the apartment and organized a plaque-laying ceremony last week to commemorate her parents on this year’s visit.

Last week, city officials presented her with her original birth certificate and her parents’ marriage certificate.

“Now it’s all closure for me,” Melmed said with a peaceful smile as she touched her golden necklace with a Star of David pendant. “It doesn’t hurt anymore.”

https://www.timesofisrael.com/berlin-celebrates-post-wwii-visitor-program-for-expelled-jews/

Demonstrators hang plaque honoring Lithuanian Nazi collaborator

Vilnius municipality had earlier removed a memorial to Jonas Noreika, who is believed to have personally overseen the murder of Jews when the Nazis controlled Lithuania

This memorial plaque to Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika was removed from the Library of Academy of science in Vilnius in July 2019, but demonstrators reinstalled a new one in September. (Alma Pater/Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

This memorial plaque to Nazi collaborator Jonas Noreika was removed from the Library of Academy of science in Vilnius in July 2019, but demonstrators reinstalled a new one in September. (Alma Pater/Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

Demonstrators in Lithuania’s capital city installed without a permit a plaque honoring a Nazi collaborator after the municipality had an earlier plaque dedicated to him removed.

Nationalists hastily mounted the plaque they had made for Jonas Noreika in Vilnius on Thursday, on an external wall of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, during a demonstration against the removal of an earlier monument honoring him in July.

The Jewish Community of Lithuania condemned the decision to mount another plaque for Noreika to replace the one it and the Simon Wiesenthal Center had lobbied for years to have removed. That plaque was smashed in April and repaired, and then removed in July by order of Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius.

“We urge the Lithuanian authorities to remove the new plaque and prosecute those responsible for breaking the law” in installing it, Efraim Zuroff, the Center’s Eastern Europe director, wrote.

The library whose wall again features a plaque for Noreika told the BNS news agency it does not intend to have the plaque removed.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/demonstrators-hang-plaque-honoring-lithuanian-nazi-collaborator/

Dutch museum defends exhibition on Nazi design, denies glorifying Nazis

Museum in Den Bosch bans photography at ‘Design of the Third Reich’ exhibit; opening met with protests

Design Museum Den Bosch (Google Maps)

Design Museum Den Bosch (Google Maps)

A museum in the Netherlands has banned visitors from taking pictures of an exhibition on design during the Third Reich to prevent any Nazi glorification on social media.

The Design Museum Den Bosch also put extra security in each room of the “Design of the Third Reich” exhibit as it opened Sunday.

On its website, the museum says the exhibition is aimed at showing the “contribution of design to the development of the evil Nazi ideology.”

According to the Guardian, the exhibit has been criticized by the Association of Dutch Anti-fascists. Members of the local communist party held a protest near the museum’s entrance as it opened Sunday.

Timo de Rijk, the museum’s director, said he assured the protesters the exhibit would not glorify the Nazis.

“They are concerned that maybe we are glorifying it all. I would not be doing this if I thought we were, but I can understand that they are aware of that kind of evil in history,” he told the British newspaper.

De Rijk also said he was not aware of plans by either far-right or far-left figures to visit the museum.

“From the start we explain that this was a racist ideology and that the party’s aim was to establish a racist volk culture. The exhibition has the feel of a documentary,” he said.

Though the exhibit includes items on loan from the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin and the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, neither partnered with the Den Bosch museum due to the sensitivity of the issue, the Guardian said.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/dutch-museum-defends-exhibition-on-nazi-design-denies-glorifying-nazis/

Dallas Holocaust museum expands focus to other genocides, human rights struggles

Museum opening Sept. 18 is five times bigger than in previous location; greater scope aims to remind visitors of Holocaust lessons’ ongoing relevance

In this July 29, 2019, photo, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum President and CEO, Mary Pat Higgins, pauses as she gives a tour of the museum in Dallas, to look at a wall size image of Jews marching. When Dallas’ Holocaust museum reopens in a few weeks it will not only be in a new building five times the size of its previous location, but will take visitors on a journey that also includes modern-day genocides and the evolution of human and civil rights in the U.S. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

In this July 29, 2019, photo, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum President and CEO, Mary Pat Higgins, pauses as she gives a tour of the museum in Dallas, to look at a wall size image of Jews marching. When Dallas’ Holocaust museum reopens in a few weeks it will not only be in a new building five times the size of its previous location, but will take visitors on a journey that also includes modern-day genocides and the evolution of human and civil rights in the U.S. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

DALLAS (AP) — When the Holocaust museum in Dallas opens the doors to its new building, visitors will be not only learning about the mass murder of Jews during World War II but also other genocides that have happened around the world, as well as human rights struggles in the US

The newly renamed Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is the latest in the US to broaden its permanent exhibit and embolden its efforts to inspire visitors to take action to make the world a better place.

Expanding the focus to include more recent atrocities and human rights struggles helps draw in more visitors to be reminded that the lessons from the Holocaust are still relevant.

The museum opening Sept. 18 in Dallas is five times bigger than its previous location — a jump from 6,000 square feet (557 sq. meters) to 55,000 square feet (5,110 sq. meters). Museum officials hope for 200,000 visitors a year — more than double the previous figure.

The Holocaust Museum Houston has already seen a jump in visitors since reopening in June after a renovation and expansion that more than doubled its size. The primary focus of the original museum was the Holocaust, but it now details other genocides and has tributes to human rights leaders including Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who as a child in Pakistan began advocating for girls’ education.

“We look at it like as: if we can get them in the door and attract them on — it might be something like a social activism — then they can also benefit from learning about the Holocaust when they’re here,” said Kelly Zuniga, CEO of the Houston museum.

In this July 29, 2019, photo, Mary Pat Higgins, President and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Dallas stands in a large theatre that was under construction. The theatre is a 250-seat Cinemark NextGen Theater with a 50-foot screen. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

In Cincinnati, the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust and Humanity Center’s move in January into Union Terminal train station meant that it could include a gallery showcasing people who have made positive changes in their community. “We examine individuals who stood up and who seized the moment and we talk about their character strengths,” said Jodi Elowitz, the center’s education director.

Two years ago the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie opened as part of its permanent exhibit the Take a Stand Center, which is focused on human rights. “Hopefully they’re getting knowledge, they’re finding their passion or their particular cause or issue that they’re interested in,” said Kelley Szany, vice president of education and exhibitions for the museum.

The Dallas museum’s orientation video asks the question: Why should visitors care?

“The rest of the museum goes on to not answer the question, because we don’t provide answers. We do provide direction. We expect you to be able to answer the question however you were impacted,” said Eddie Jacobs, who designed the exhibit with fellow Berenbaum Jacobs Associates founder Michael Berenbaum.

The gallery detailing genocides that happened before and after the Holocaust uses sculpture and graphic novels to help visitors understand the tactics that led to the mass killings. The sculpture on the mass murder of Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda in 1994 includes machetes and victims’ racial identification cards. A graphic novel notes that polarization tactics that led to the genocide included Tutsis being referred to as cockroaches, pointing out that the Nazis portrayed Jews as rats and poisonous mushrooms.

In this July 29, 2019, photo, an exhibit hangs from the ceiling in part of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Dallas. This area of the museum educates visitors of genocide. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

The last stage of the visit turns to the US for an exploration of how American ideals compare to reality, Berenbaum said. Visitors use interactive touchscreens to explore their own attitudes and biases. As they end their visit, they can learn about volunteer opportunities.

“The Holocaust is remembered. The question then becomes deeper: How is it remembered and what are we to do with that memory?” Berenbaum said.

Max Glauben, who as Jewish teenager from Poland spent time in Nazi concentration camps, where his parents and brother were killed, helped found the Dallas museum. Glauben, who immigrated to the US after WWII, hopes the museum inspires people to take inventory of their own lives.

“Maybe after seeing all this they realize that maybe we should become better,” said Glauben, 91.

Germany asks for Poland’s forgiveness 80 years after WWII outbreak

‘We want to remember and we will remember,’ says Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Polish city of Wielun, where first World War II bombs fell 80 years ago

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, and Polish President Andrzej Duda, left, attend ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of World War II, in Wielun, Poland,  Sept. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, and Polish President Andrzej Duda, left, attend ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of World War II, in Wielun, Poland, Sept. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WIELUN, Poland (AFP) — German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday asked Poland’s forgiveness for history’s bloodiest conflict during a ceremony in the Polish city of Wielun, where the first World War II bombs fell 80 years ago.

“I bow my head before the victims of the attack on Wielun. I bow my head before the Polish victims of Germany’s tyranny. And I ask forgiveness,” Steinmeier said in both German and Polish.

That figure includes the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, half of them Polish.

A video installation runs at the memorial service during a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, in Wielun, Poland, Sept. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

“It is the Germans who committed a crime against humanity in Poland. Anyone who claims it is over, that the national-socialists’ reign of terror over Europe is a marginal event in German history, judges that for himself,” Steinmeier added in the presence of his Polish counterpart.

The line appeared to be a clear reference to the German far-right, whose co-leader Alexander Gauland once called the 12-year Third Reich a “speck of bird poop” in an otherwise glorious German past.

“We will never forget. We want to remember and we will remember,” Steinmeier said.

Spectators hold candles at the memorial service during a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, in Wielun, Poland, Sept. 1, 2019 (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Polish President Andrzej Duda for his part denounced Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland, calling it “an act of barbarity” and “a war crime.”

“I am convinced that this ceremony will go down in the history of Polish-German friendship,” he added, thanking Steinmeier for his presence.

‘Smoke, noise, explosions’

The heads of state will later tour the Wielun museum and meet with local survivors of the September 1, 1939 bombing.

“I saw dead bodies, the wounded… Smoke, noise, explosions. Everything was burning,” Wielun bombing survivor Tadeusz Sierandt, 88, told AFP ahead of the anniversary.

The carpet-bombing came one week after Germany and the Soviet Union secretly agreed to carve up Eastern Europe between them by signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans attended a separate dawn remembrance Sunday in Westerplatte, where a Nazi German battleship opened fire on a Polish fort on September 1, 1939.

Hitler’s attacks on Poland led Britain and France to declare war on Nazi Germany. On September 17, the Soviet Union in turn invaded Poland.

After the Nazis tore up the pact with Moscow, two alliances battled it out to the end: the Axis powers led by Germany, Italy and Japan and the victorious Allied forces led by Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States.

Later Sunday, US Vice President Mike Pence, Steinmeier and Duda will deliver speeches at a ceremony in Warsaw’s Pilsudski Square, the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

No Johnson, Putin, Trump

Though it has been 80 years since the war started, there are still unresolved matters according to Poland, which says Germany owes it war reparations.

A parliamentary commission is currently working on a new analysis of the extent of Poland’s wartime human and material losses. Berlin, however, believes the case is closed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend the Warsaw ceremony, but no other major world leaders are expected.

This file photo taken between September 1942 and February 1943 shows German soldiers during the battle of Stalingrad. (AFP)

US President Donald Trump had planned to attend the war commemorations but cancelled at the last minute so that he could monitor Hurricane Dorian.

Also not attending are French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while Russian President Vladimir Putin was not invited — unlike 10 years ago — because of Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The Polish presidency had said the commemorations would be attended by around 40 foreign delegations, a few of them led by heads of state.

They include Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky whose partnership matters to Poland, which believes its security depends on Ukraine remaining outside of Russia’s sphere of influence.

Duda said Poland wants neighbor “Ukraine to be closer to the European Union, to be closer to NATO” after meeting with Zelensky in Warsaw on Saturday.

Germany eases citizenship rules for descendants of those persecuted by Nazis

Changes close loopholes that previously shut out some claimants; second, third, fourth and in some cases fifth generation descendants can apply, says interior ministry

Illustrative photo of a man holding a Nazi-era German passport that belonged to his grandparent, October 5, 2016. (Frank Augstein/AP)

Illustrative photo of a man holding a Nazi-era German passport that belonged to his grandparent, October 5, 2016. (Frank Augstein/AP)

BERLIN, Germany — Berlin from Friday eased rules allowing the descendants of people who fled Nazi Germany to reclaim citizenship.

Germany must “live up to its historical responsibility with regards to those affected,” said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

The offspring of people who left Nazi Germany before their nationality was evoked by the regime can now reclaim it under the new decree.

People who previously would not have been accorded German nationality, because their father was a foreigner and whose mother lost her German citizenship under the Nazis, for example, can now also benefit from the new rules.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, June 27, 2019. (AP/Markus Schreiber)

The ministry stressed that no one should be shut out because the Nazi-era injustice was too far back in time.

Second, third, fourth “and in some cases fifth generation” descendants can apply, said the ministry.

“Persecuted persons and their descendants, who had been previously excluded from naturalisation because of the morally unjust legal situation, can now have the opportunity to acquire German citizenship under eased conditions,” said Josef Schuster, who heads the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

“This closes a gap in justice,” he added.

The required conditions will be reduced “to a minimum” comprising “basic German language skills” and a basic knowledge of the legal and social order in Germany, said the ministry.

Unlike under typical citizenship application processes, applicants under these categories would not need to prove that they have sufficient financial means to support themselves.

The difficulties for some in using ancestry grounds to claim their citizenship came into focus partly due to the sharp rise in number of applications from Britons evoking Nazi persecution of their ancestors, after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

From 43 such applications in 2015, the number had soared to 1,506 in 2018, according to ministry figures.

Amazon removes shirts with notorious photo of Nazi executing Jew

Retail giant takes down items after being contacted by Israel’s Channel 12; sellers boasted purchasers would ‘stand out from the crowd’

A photograph known as "The Last Jew in Vinnitsa" taken during the Holocaust in Ukraine showing a Jewish man near the town of Vinnitsa about to be shot dead by a member of the Nazis' Einsatzgruppe. (Public Domain)

A photograph known as “The Last Jew in Vinnitsa” taken during the Holocaust in Ukraine showing a Jewish man near the town of Vinnitsa about to be shot dead by a member of the Nazis’ Einsatzgruppe. (Public Domain)

Amazon has removed an assortment of clothes sold on its UK site emblazoned with a notorious Holocaust photo in which a Jew in Ukraine is kneeling in front of a mass grave as a Nazi officer points a gun to his head, moments before shooting him, Channel 12 news reported on Saturday.

The retail giant took down the items plastered with the photo, known as “The Last Jew in Vinnitsa,” after it was contacted by the Israeli TV network.

In the description of the items, the sellers from “Harma Art” wrote, “Choose from our great collection of authentic designs and stand out from the crowd!”

This was not the first time items charged to be anti-Semitic were sold on Amazon’s site.

Just last month, the Central Council of Jews in Germany denounced the online retail giant for allowing the sale of anti-Semitic books and pro-Nazi merchandise, calling for the practice to immediately stop.

It highlighted books such as “The Jew as World Parasite” which was listed on the site for 20 euros ($22.50), and “Judas: The World Enemy,” available for 10 euros ($11).

In March 2017, Amazon UK removed three books that denied the Holocaust after requests from Yad Vashem and a UK Jewish group.

The four titles were: “Holocaust: The Greatest Lie Ever Told,” by Eleanor Wittakers; “The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry,” by Arthur R. Butz and “Did Six Million Really Die?” by Richard Harwood.

On Wednesday, Amazon launched a new webpage in Hebrew aimed at recruiting local sellers, as it expands its Israeli operations.

An Amazon fulfillment center processes orders in Aurora, Colorado, May 3, 2018. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Polish government invites top rabbi to event honoring accused Nazi collaborators

Rabbi Michael Schudrich blasts ceremony for Swietokrzyska Brigade, held under auspices of Polish president; condemns ‘dangerous’ historical revisionism

Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich speaks at a gala celebration marking the opening of an American Jewish Committee office for Central Europe in Warsaw, Poland, March 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich speaks at a gala celebration marking the opening of an American Jewish Committee office for Central Europe in Warsaw, Poland, March 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland — The chief rabbi of Poland on Wednesday criticized plans by the country’s right-wing government to honor a group of ultra-nationalist underground fighters accused of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II.

Rabbi Michael Schudrich said he felt “insulted” by an invitation from the Polish veterans’ affairs ministry to a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Swietokrzyska Brigade, also known as the Holy Cross Mountains Brigade.

“The organization of these ceremonies insults the memory of all Polish citizens killed in the fight against Germany,” Schudrich said in a letter addressed to Veterans’ Affairs Minister Jan Kasprzyk.

“I regard being invited to take part in them as a personal insult,” the rabbi said in the letter carried by Polish media.

President Duda has come under fire from opposition politicians for agreeing to back the controversial ceremonies.

Polish president Andrzej Duda speaks during a ceremony in the March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp site in Poland, as Israel marks annual Holocaust Memorial Day, on April 12, 2018. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Kasprzyk on Wednesday flatly denied the unit had ever worked with the Nazis, telling Poland’s public broadcaster TVP that “the Swietokrzyska Brigade never collaborated with the Germans.”

The Brygada Swietokrzyska was part of the National Armed Forces (NSZ), a WWII underground Polish ultra-nationalist and anti-communist armed group that fought the Nazis, the Red Army as well as the Polish communist anti-Nazi resistance.

The Swietokrzyska brigade, comprised of some 850 to 1,400 men, is accused of collaborating with the Nazis against the Soviets as the Red Army advanced from the east across Polish territory towards the end of the war.

The brigade was at odds with and refused to join the Home Army (AK), the main Polish underground anti-Nazi resistance that was allied with Poland’s government in exile in London.

Members of the Holy Cross Mountains Brigade take part in a parade in 1945. (Public domain, Wikipedia)

“These (NSZ) anti-communists, they killed Germans, Russians and they killed Jews” who were Polish citizens, Schudrich told AFP.

“There are so many other Polish heroes, we don’t need to choose the ones who actually killed other Poles, and in this case, many of them of the Jewish religion,” Schudrich said, dubbing the ceremonies “dangerous” historical revisionism.

In February 2018, Poland’s right-wing Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, a staunch anti-communist, triggered a storm of criticism in Poland and Israel when he became the first Polish official to publicly recognize the Swietokrzyska Brigade by laying flowers on the graves of members near Munich.

Meanwhile, Jewish leaders in Lithuania announced Tuesday they were temporarily closing the Vilnius Synagogue and the community’s headquarters amid a highly-charged public debate over commemorations for Lithuanian wartime officials, who the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) claims were involved in the Holocaust.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/polish-government-invites-top-rabbi-to-event-honoring-accused-nazi-collaborators/