New Polish prime minister refers to rescue of ‘Jewish brothers’ in his inaugural address

Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 16 December 2017 02:01.


Mateusz Morawiecki. third from left, at the Warsaw Zoo holding a document honoring rescuers of Jews, Sept., 2017. (Courtesy of From the Depths)

JTA, “New Polish prime minister refers to rescue of ‘Jewish brothers’ in his inaugural address”, 12 Dec 2017:

(JTA) — In his first speech as Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki said that non-Jewish Poles who saved their “Jewish brothers” during the Holocaust represent the “essence of what it means to be Polish.”

Morawiecki, a former banker who in September spoke about his Jewish roots – two of his aunts are Jewish — in a speech about rescuers of Jews in Warsaw, presented his inaugural address Tuesday to the parliament.

The remark about Jews was unusual because of the reference as brethren and the de facto head of state including the subject in an inaugural address.

Morawiecki, who was the finance minister before his promotion in a surprising reshuffle in the government of the right-wing ruling Law and Justice Party, spoke mostly about the economy and foreign relations.

But in speaking about the national identity, he said: “The deep community dimension is inscribed in our tradition: Assistance to people in flight, Żegota saving our Jewish brothers and Solidarity. This is real proof of what Polishness is and what the community is.”

Żegota is the name of a Polish resistance group that helped Jews during the Holocaust. Solidarity was an anti-communist movement, in which Morawiecki’s father was active during Poland’s subjugation to the Soviet Union.

Morawiecki, 49, succeeds Beata Szydło, also of the right-wing party, who has served in the post since 2015.

Morawiecki, who was not even a member of Law and Justice two years ago, joined the government as minister for economic development in 2015 before adding the post of finance minister last year.

His Jewish roots were known in Poland. Morawiecki spoke about it in some detail earlier this year at a ceremony at the Warsaw Zoo honoring a former zoo director and his wife, Jan and Antonina Żabiński, who saved hundreds of Jews there, and other rescuers.

Polish non-Jews killed at least 1,500 Jews in a series of pogroms during and directly after the Holocaust, according to the Polish chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich

JTA, “Poland appoints ex-banker with Jewish roots as prime minister”, 8 Dec. 2017:

(JTA) — A politician with Jewish roots who said that both of his aunts were rescued by non-Jews during the Holocaust was appointed the country’s prime minister amid a Cabinet reshuffle.

Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, a former bank chairman in the Santander Group, was tapped Thursday to take charge of the Polish government as it gears up for parliamentary elections in 2019, the ruling Law and Justice party announced. He succeeds Beata Maria Szydło, also of the right-wing party, who has served in the post since 2015.

Morawiecki, 49, who was not even a member of Law and Justice two years ago, joined the government as minister for economic development in 2015 before adding the post of finance minister last year.

His Jewish roots were known in Poland. Morawiecki spoke about it in some detail earlier this year at a ceremony at the Warsaw Zoo honoring a former zoo director and his wife, Jan and Antonina Żabiński, who saved hundreds of Jews there, and other rescuers.

“Always at such ceremonies I begin reflecting on my family’s own story,” Morawiecki said. “My aunt Irena was a Jew, she survived the war and as a child of 10. Until she was 16, she stayed with a Polish family who rescued her” with help from a few dozen other non-Jewish Poles who risked their lives to hide her, he said.

Another aunt, named Roma, now lives in Israel, he said. She survived the Holocaust because she escaped eastward, Morawiecki said, presumably to Russian-held territories, while the rest of her family died.

Morawiecki later said at least one of the aunts was a blood relation, according to Jonny Daniels, founder of From the Depths, the commemoration group that organized the zoo ceremony. Roma’s relative were murdered by “Nazis or communists,” Daniels said.

Unlike the Nazis, communist fighters during the 1940s did not search systematically for Jews to kill them.

In Eastern and Central Europe, where many people have bitter memories of Russian domination, nationalist politician often make equations between Nazism and communism.

Morawiecki said that none of the people who helped Irena had been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations – a title that Israel bestows on non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Poland in reality had “10 times” the number of Righteous recognized, which Morawiecki said was 7,000 but in reality is 6,706.



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Posted by Polish PM: No African, Arab “Asylum Seekers" on Tue, 02 Jan 2018 13:05 | #

New Observer, “New Polish PM: No African, Arab “Asylum Seekers”, 2 January 2017:

Poland will definitely not be taking in any fake “asylum seekers” from Africa or the Middle East, but will continue to offer shelter to neighboring Ukrainians who are fleeing conflict in that country, new Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced.

       

Speaking in an interview with Polish Television, Morawiecki said his government would “maintain firmly the position that was formed by the [ruling] Law and Justice party before the elections [more than two years ago] that we will not be accepting migrants from North Africa and the Middle East in Poland.”

Poland opposes the mandatory quota system for immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East, but also assists and will provide financial and other assistance to victims of conflict in their host countries and refugee camps, he said.

At the same time, the minister pointed out that Poland was actively participating in “reducing tensions” on the European Union’s eastern borders.

He added that Poland had helped to reduce tensions on the eastern borders of the European Union and adopted tens of thousands of refugees from the east of Ukraine, as well as more than a million Ukrainian labor migrants.

He added that the biggest challenge for the coming year was to improve the quality of health services and improve the health system in Poland. Problems in these areas, he said, had grown worse over the previous ten years, and could not be corrected within a short time.

He added that the main theme of his talks with Prime Minister of Hungary Victor Orban on Wednesday, January 3, would be the strengthening of cooperation between the Visegrad states as well as cooperation with each on issues concerning the European Union.

On Dec. 7, 2017, the European Commission decided to refer Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to the Court of Justice of the EU “for non-compliance with their legal obligations on relocation.”



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