Saturday, December 25, 2021

"Is Yad Vashem Transforming Holocaust Memory into Political Activism?": Eldad Beck in Israel Hayom


Konstanty Rokicki, Stefan Jan Ryniewicz, and Aleksander Ładoś

On November 16, 2021, Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom's Berlin-based correspondent, published an article in Israel Hayom alleging that Yad Vashem was purposely denying earned status as Righteous Among the Nations to Polish diplomats who worked to save Jews during World War II. Beck reports that Poles read this denial as politically motivated, and caused by hostility to Poles and Poland. You can read Beck's entire article here. There are excerpts below.
Thank you to Lukasz Klimek for bringing this article to our attention.


Excerpts from the Israel Hayom article follow.


Is Yad Vashem Transforming Holocaust Memory into Political Activism?


Holocaust Remembrance Center's refusal to recognize two Polish diplomats as Righteous Among the Nations who saved thousands of Jews in Europe during World War II is particularly puzzling in light of the fact that they meet all of the criteria for recognition…


By Eldad Beck Published on 11-16-2021


Three Polish diplomats were members of the Berne Group (also known as the Lados Group, after the head of the group Alexander Lados). The group worked during World War II at the Polish embassy in Switzerland to save thousands of Jews in occupied Europe by supplying them with forged South and Central American passports, which saved some of these Jews from being sent to the death camps. The response to the request for recognition by Yad Vashem raises many questions about the quality of the work of those who deal with these requests, and as many questions regarding the motivations of the decision-makers responsible for the issue…


The person who initiated the process of recognizing the Polish diplomats from the Berne/Lados Group is Markus Blechner, a Swiss Jew who will celebrate his 80th birthday this week and whose family came from Poland…


we know about the existence of tens of thousands of forged passports and around one thousand Jews who were saved thanks to them…


The position of the Polish diplomatic missions in Switzerland was particularly sensitive, in light of the constant pressure from the Nazi regime on the Swiss authorities to close them down. At any moment, the illegal activities to forge passports could have given the Swiss a reason to close the mission and jail the staff for criminal activities…


The intensive activities to forge passports were done with the approval of the person responsible for the mission, Alexander Ladosh, and with the involvement of his deputy Stefan Ryniewicz…The diplomat who was responsible for the forgeries was the consul, Konstanty Rokicki. The rescue work was carried out in order to save persecuted Jews and not for profit and there is ample evidence and testimonies regarding the existence of the operation. Hence, all the conditions for recognizing the Polish diplomats as Righteous Among the Nations are in place…


Yad Vashem decided to reduce its dimensions. A while after the outbreak of the "Crisis of Holocaust Memory" between Poland and Israel around what was dubbed in Israel the "Polish Holocaust Law," the committee for recognizing Righteous Among the Nations decided to recognize only Consul Konstanty Rokicki…


Since I was involved in media exposure of the rescue operation, I approached Yad Vashem and I blamed them for their mistake…


The relatives of Rokicki announced that they would refuse to accept the award of Righteous Among the Nations as long as the remaining diplomats weren't also recognized…The Polish government saw the carelessness of the committee as a deliberate Israeli political move aimed at preventing recognition of the efforts of the Polish government-in-exile to save Jews during the Holocaust and to perpetuate the impression that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust…Survivors and their descendants, who owe their lives to the Berne/Ladosh Group, made an official complaint to Yad Vashem, who agreed to re-examine the issue of recognition in light of the many documents that were uncovered over the last three years. For the sake of this issue, Mordecai Paldiel, who served as the head of Yad Vashem's Righteous Among the Nations department for 24 years, was also recruited to check every aspect of the affair, reaching the unambiguous conclusion that every Polish diplomat deserved recognition…


only full transparency regarding this issue will make it clear if Yad Vashem is playing a role in the deterioration of the crisis between Poland and Israel, and what is motivating Yad Vashem to recognize only some of the Polish diplomats – not only in Switzerland – as saviors of Jews.


  1. Yad Vashem has always been political. They glorify Danish rescuers, and have thus awarded the entire Danish nation, ignoring Danish Nazis and Danish collaborators. Then we hear complaints that Poles claim "too much credit" for rescuing Jews, even though Polish rescuers operated under infinitely more difficult conditions than Danish rescuers.

  2. 2013 book partially prising partially criticizing 'Bieganski'


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
These themes include the false and damaging stereotype of Poles as brutes who are uniquely hateful and responsible for atrocity, and this stereotype's use in distorting WW II history and all accounts of atrocity.
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