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For Auschwitz 75th anniversary.. from Peter Myers

For Auschwitz 75th anniversary, Israel joins Putin in blaming Poland for outbreak of WWII, whitewashing Stalin for deal with Hitler(1) Battle for Auschwitz: Shamir is defending Stalin, blaming Poland for WWII(2) Israel Shamir says "Poland intended to attack Russia as a junior partner of Hitler"; no evidence provided(3) Israel joins Putin in blaming Poland for outbreak of WWII, whitewashing Stalin for deal with Hitler(4) Putin brands Poles as allies of Hitler(5) German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934 was abrogated by Hitler in 1938 when Poland was his next target(1) Battle for Auschwitz: Shamir is defending Stalin, blaming Poland for WWII- Peter Myers, January 21, 2020Israel Shamir's article Battle for Auschwitz (item 2) depicts Poles as accomplices of the Nazis, and denies Stalin' role in starting World War II.The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact broke up the Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany and Japan (at that time occupying Manchuria and Inner Mongolia), thus freeing the USSR from having to fight on two fronts; instead, Hitler was the one who had to fight on two fronts.Secret clauses provided that Poland be split between Germany and the Soviet Union, and that north-east Europe be partitioned between the two. This initiatated WWII, giving Hitler a geeen light to take western Poland. Stalin waited a few weeks, until the West had declared war on Germany. He then took eastern Poland, without the West declaring war on him. Clearly, Stalin was equally responsible, with Hitler, for war breaking out; but he was much more cunning than Hitler.The Soviet Union denied the secret clauses in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, until 1989, in the Gorbachev era. They were published soon after."'I have deceived him. I have deceived Hitler,' cried Stalin joyfully after the Pact had been signed. (Nikita Khrushchev, Memoirs, Chasidze Publications, 1981) Stalin had indeed deceived Hitler in a way that nobody had deceived anyone else throughout the whole of the twentieth century. Only a week and a half after the Pact had been signed Hitler had a war on two fronts. That is to say, from the very outset of hostilities Germany fell into a situation in which it could only lose the war; or, to put it another way, on 23 August 1939, the day the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed, Stalin had won the Second World War even before Hitler came into it."  - Victor Suvorov, Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1990, p. 46.There is no need for Putin and Shamir to deny Stalin's role in starting the war, or to defend him.Larouche writers (Lyndon Larouche, Webster Tarpley, F. William Engdahl) and Yockeyists (eg Kerry Bolton) side with Stalin and deny or minimise his crimes.(2) Battle for Auschwitz: Israel Shamir says "Poland intended to attack Russia as a junior partner of Hitler"; no evidence providedThe Battle for Auschwitz, by Israel Shamir20 Jan 2020https://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-battle-for-auschwitz/On Friday, January 17, 2020, three thousand salvos shook the earth of the Russian capital city; the sky over Moscow had been emblazoned by glorious fireworks. This was the repeat of the memorable salute given seventy-five years ago, on January 17, 1945 by 24 salvos of 324 heavy cannons at liberation of Warsaw by the Red Army. Ruined Warsaw had been saved from total loss.This could be an excellent occasion for display of friendliness between the two Slavic nations. The Poles could remember 200,000 Russian soldiers and officers killed in action at Warsaw, and say: they died so we may live. They could thank Russia for the bountiful lands and great cities that were torn out of defeated Germany and presented to Poland: Danzig became Gdansk, Stettin became Szczecin, Breslau became Wroc?aw, and Posen became Poznan´. They could thank Russia even for passing to the Ukraine the Ukrainian-populated lands that were under Polish rule between the wars, the rule that ended in a big massacre of the resident Poles by Ukrainian nationalists.Gratitude is not a strong feature of the Polish national character: the Polish government ignored the event. Instead, the Poles destroyed the memorials and tombs of Russian soldiers. It was mighty annoying, but much less important than Warsaw’s decision to establish the US radar system of a European missile shield on its soil, the system that made a sudden US nuclear strike on Russia a very tangible possibility. Poland’s effort to undermine Russia’s pipeline to Germany; Poland’s invitation of US armour to take positions on its eastern border; Poland’s endless hostility to Russia in the Europarliament made the Russians to view this old founding member of the Warsaw Pact as its enemy No. 1 in the European continent.You won’t be amazed that the Russians had used a good opportunity to pay tit for tat. This opportunity came from the Jewish offensive against Poland. The Jews attacked this anti-Communist eastern bulwark of the West from two sides at once, powerful US Jewry and the mighty Jewish state. Or almost at once. American Jews began the operation by pushing through the obsequious Congress Bill S774. This bill told Poland to cough up $300 Billion to American Jewish organisations.Under this American law, all property that once belonged to a person of Jewish descent in Poland must be transferred to American Jewish organizations. One third of Warsaw, half of Krakow, much of residential property in Poland belonged to Jews before the war – and now it was going ‘back’ to US Jewry. The law created a unique situation – what belonged to a Jew remains forever in Jewish hands. And lawsuits cannot be brought against these "Jewish hands". That is, if a Jewish citizen of Poland died leaving debts, these debts disappeared. But if he died intestate, then the house goes to Jewish American organizations. They can evict the resident Poles, or make them pay a rent for what they thought was their own apartments.S774 is a brilliant idea. It revives medieval Polish Jewry – a state in a state. In pre-war Poland this was not the case; Polish Jews were Polish citizens, and if a Polish Jew died without leaving any heirs, his escheated property went to the Polish republic, as did the property of a Catholic or Orthodox Pole who died intestate. American Jews decided to turn the Holocaust into the biggest property snatch of the 21st century, by reverting to the 16th century ideas. They will take in their own hands all the property that belonged to the Polish citizens of the Mosaic Law before the war.This peculiar idea was not to be applied in the US or England. If an American (or British) Jew dies without appointing heirs, the property will be transferred to the state. But for Poland, they conceived a complete restitution. If it will work with the Poles, it may work elsewhere; the Jews won’t be ordinary citizens of their countries, but rather members of supranational Jewry. The debts will be their private affairs, but their assets will be of the Jewry. Brilliant, isn’t it?The Poles didn’t like S447. There are demonstrations against the law, there are calls to oust the American ambassador, who added insult to injury by congratulating Polish Jews on Hanukkah while forgetting to send Christmas greetings to the Catholic Poles, the vast majority of the nation. At that time, Israel came to support the US Jews. They demanded that Poland repent for being nasty to Jews, to accept partial responsibility for the Holocaust and pay. Israel pumped out many billions from Germany, but these billions have already been used up. Poland had paid nothing to Israel. The Bolsheviks who ruled after-war Poland did not think that the Zionists should be paid; they considered Poland a Nazi victim, not a beneficiary. Now there were no more communists, so please pay, said the Jews.Israel and American Jews keep the pressure on Poland. They call Auschwitz a "Polish concentration camp", which offends the Poles very much. They say that many Poles helped the Nazis to realise the "final solution to the Jewish question." Poles made a law forbidding saying that; the Jews took to chanting it on the streets.The conflict is coming now to the fore, with the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation (by the Red Army, by the way: President Obama’s uncle didn’t fight in Poland, despite this silly claim of the previous American president). It will be celebrated in two places: in Jerusalem and in Auschwitz. In Jerusalem, all important dignitaries will gather: the French President, the US Vice-President, the German Chancellor, the Russian President Putin. The Polish president Andrzej Duda was invited, too – but not as a speaker, just an also-present guest. He preferred to skip the occasion altogether and to visit the much more modest Auschwitz celebration at the site of the camp.President Putin is aware of the Polish controversy, and he decided to show the Poles that their relentless hostility to Russia just does not pay. A few weeks ago on December 24, at the meeting of the Russian Ministry of Defence, Putin presented certain documents of the World War Two period, attesting to the rabidly anti-Jewish attitude of the pre-war Polish leadership. For instance, Jozef Lipsky, the Polish ambassador to Nazi Germany until 1939, told the Germans that the Poles would erect a monument to the Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler in Warsaw if he were to rid Poland of its Jews. "Such an anti-Semitic pig!" – exclaimed Putin indignantly.The Poles made a miserable attempt to reinterpret the damning words, saying that the Polish ambassador had meant to save Jews by sending them to safe Africa, for instance, to Madagascar, to the harmless lemurs, in cooperation with Zionists, and so he was a Zionist pig, rather. It did not play well.But Putin had more papers and more proof in his vaults. He produced a report dated late 1944-early 1945, when pro-London Polish militants of AK had made an attempt to take over Warsaw from the Germans before the Red Army’s arrival. The report said that the AK fighters systematically killed all the Jews who survived the German suppression of Warsaw Ghetto uprising (1943). It could explain why the Russian army did not think it is their sacred duty to help the AK militants.Russians were always rather good and tolerant to Jews. There were no pogroms in Russia – only in Poland, the Ukraine and Moldova, the independent states once parts of the Russian Empire. The Russians saved millions of Jews, including millions of Polish Jews who were allowed to move to Russia. No other country accepted so many Jewish refugees as Russia did, by a long chalk. The Jews paid this back with black ingratitude by helping the West to carry out its psy-war against Russia. Masha Gessen and Leonid Gozman are typical pro-Western and anti-Russian Jews who won’t be alive but for Russian courage and generosity.Still, Russia is good for Jews. They are an integral part of modern Russian elites; Jewish centres occupy prime real estate sites in Moscow and elsewhere. Relations with Israel are also rather good, despite the low-key confrontation in Syria. While visiting the Auschwitz forum in Jerusalem, Putin will also unveil a new memorial to the Soviet Jews who perished during the cruel Leningrad siege. Netanyahu is particularly friendly to Putin, and this personal friendship allowed them to avoid an all-out war for Syria.Israeli liberals, enemies of Trump and Netanyahu, are definitely unhappy about this development. They would prefer that Jerusalem accommodate Warsaw, even for the tiny price of overlooking the ethnically-cleansed Jews of Poland. But they are not ruling Israel, yet, though their main newspaper, Haaretz, is as anti-Putin as any Western media.The Poles are screwed-up. They thought the Jews connected to the US would support them against Russia, but Jews have their own calculations and interests. If the Poles thought the Russians would never discover their vulnerabilities, they were mistaken. It is true, the Russians had kept so many damning documents of the period in their sealed archives; but that was when Warsaw was an ally of Moscow. Now it makes no sense at all, and Russians do present terrible proofs of violent Polish anti-Jewish attitudes.They corrected the whole narrative of the war. While Poles like to begin the history with Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty, subsequently presenting the USSR as an ally of Nazi Germany assaulting innocent and pure Poland; in the new Russian narrative (and in reality), the treaty between Poland and Nazi Germany preceded the Molotov pact by many years. Poland intended to attack Russia as a junior partner of Hitler. That is why the western border of Poland (with Germany) was totally unfortified and undefended, as opposed to the heavily fortified Eastern border with the USSR. But for this strategic miscalculation of Polish between-the-wars leadership, the Germans won’t be able to defeat Polish army within two weeks.The Russians provided documents showing that half a million Poles served in Hitler’s Wehrmacht. These prove that the Polish leadership was fond of German Nazis, not least because of their anti-Jewish attitudes. Hitler personally attended the memorial service of Polish First Marshall Jozef Pilsudski in Berlin, in 1935.Indeed, the tricky Poles had tried to play the West against Germany, the Germany against the USSR, and they ended with their country in ruins. Instead of learning their lessons and understanding that such intrigues are not healthy for a mid-size country, they repeated it after the Cold War, by trying to become the cutting edge of the Western assault upon Russia. The Auschwitz Forum in Jerusalem proves again that this policy leads to a new disaster.A special resolution of the Polish Sejm – the lower house of the Polish parliament – condemned both "provocative" and "false" statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin, about the role of Poland in the beginning of World War II. "Two totalitarian regimes – Nazi Germany and the communist USSR – unleashed this war", the resolution emphasizes, which was adopted without a voting procedure on Thursday, January 9, while Poland is innocent.This mantra worked all right for a long time; while it was necessary to accuse Russia and to delegitimise the Soviets. But now the Jews want to have their share of fun, incidentally at the expense of Poland. For Russia it is a change for the better. Jews are a valuable ally. With Putin in the Yad va-Shem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, and the Polish president Duda not among those present, Polish voices won’t be heard.I recently received a letter from a Polish nationalist Dr Ignacy Nowopolski; he writes – we the Poles need to go back to the Warsaw Pact protection, otherwise the Jews and Germans will fleece us."They started to accuse Poland of precipitating WWII and the Jewish holocaust… From 1989 on, the Western corporations were busy designing a strategy for effective robbery of the post communist societies’ wealth… The West brought immense misery to countless people around the world… The imperial media have been able to convince people in the post-communist countries to voluntarily join the newly established atheistic paradise of the EU. Today, after over three decades of functioning in the Western sphere of influence, young Polish generations accept being the second-class EU citizens as normal as the Universal Law of Gravitation.…anti-Russian sentiments in Poland and other Central European countries are mere demonstration of imprudent tendencies in their societies. In order to survive, these nations must overcome mutual animosities, which currently enable their enemies to successfully employ ancient divide et impera strategy. The answer is in the creation of some sort of "Euroslavia" in cooperation or even confederation with Russian Federation" – i.e. going back to the Warsaw Pact.Such a sentiment on the lips of a hard-line Polish nationalist is a sign of profound change of heart. If and when such people would occupy the old Viceroy Palace, Poland would make peace with Russia and prosper. US soldiers, tanks and radars would go back to Virginia. Russian military memorials would get freshly painted. Russians are easy to forget old grievances; they still have a warm spot in their heart for the Poles, "the French of the East". Then Russia would support Poland against third-party claims, as she did for many years. But meanwhile, let the Auschwitz Forum be a useful lesson for Poland – do not stir hostility in the East by the orders from the West.On the photo – a demonstration of the Poles against restitution subtitled "Neo-Nazi protest" in an American newspaper. Only a neo-Nazi would prefer to remain the owner of his apartment when it could be given over to a Jewish American organization.Putin, who did not attend the 70th anniversary events, was invited to this year’s ceremonies, but declined; the Russian ambassador to Poland is on the list of invited guests.(3) For Auschwitz 75th anniversary, Israel joins Putin in blaming Poland for outbreak of WWII, whitewashing Stalin for deal with Hitlerhttps://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-the-dirty-politics-behind-israel-s-capitulation-to-putin-s-wwii-revisionism-1.8406565The Dirty Politics Behind Israel's Capitulation to Putin's WWII RevisionismHosting event marking 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation, Israel's Holocaust remembrance authority is now facilitating the Kremlin campaign to blame Poland for the outbreak of WWII – and to whitewash Stalin's handshake with HitlerOfer AderetJan 16, 2020 12:53 PMAt the end of this month, days apart, two international ceremonies will be held to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation from the Nazis: the first at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and the second at the site of the concentration camp itself in Poland. World leaders, prominent Jewish figures and Holocaust survivors have been invited to both.Holding more than one ceremony dedicated to a major anniversary is not that unusual, but there is more than that going on here. Behind the desire to honor the memory of the victims lie other, less honorable interests. Internal Jewish community politics, diplomatic skirmishes, historical disputes and games of power and ego have all come to be involved in the event at Yad Vashem in particular – a commemoration of atrocity that could be assumed to be untainted by extraneous considerations.One indication that outside factors would indeed contaminate the Jerusalem event was the highly unusual decision by Polish President Andrezj Duda to turn down the invitation to attend the ceremony. He questioned why Yad Vashem was holding an international event seemingly in competition with the commemoration already planned at the Auschwitz memorial site; and he announced that he would not participate because the organizers refused to give him one of the slots for foreign dignitaries to give a speech.Yad Vashem’s exclusion of Duda from the speaker list would have been more easily justifiable were all the speakers at the ceremony Holocaust survivors or WWII historians. But U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, the presidents of Russia, France, Germany and Israel, as well as Britain’s Prince Charles, and Prime Minister Netanyahu all been invited to speak at the event.The explanation proffered by Yad Vashem, that all the speakers are "heads of states that brought about the world’s liberation from the Nazi occupation" leaves something to be desired. If this were truly the guiding rule, then representatives of Germany and Israel should clearly not be speaking at the ceremony. Nor, if that is the criterion, is it clear that the president of France, whose Vichy regime collaborated with the Nazis until the summer of 1944, would deserve this honor.The Polish government, however, from its place of exile in London, joined ranks with the Allies, and Polish troops fought against Nazi Germany in all kinds of frameworks. Isn’t this reason enough to include its top official on the list of speakers at the ceremony commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz?So the reason behind the decision not to allow the Polish president to speak at the event clearly lies elsewhere – and in places that could potentially detract from the distinguished nature of the event that the organizers are aiming for.One might assume that it is the Israeli government that is behind an event of this magnitude, one that involves world leaders and is being held at Yad Vashem. But in fact, the force behind it is someone unknown to most Israelis: Moshe Kantor, a Russian-Jewish billionaire and oligarch who is president of the European Jewish Congress.His people say that he is the one who "proposed and planned" the event and is "responsible for the program and its content" and that it is because of him that dozens of world leaders will be in attendance. If that’s so, then what role do Israel's Foreign Ministry, the President’s Office and Yad Vashem, all also listed as organizers of the event, have? Kantor’s people say that he "harnessed" them to his plans. Needless to say, not everyone is thrilled with this portrayal of things.Is there any connection between the fact that Kantor is close with the Kremlin (so much so that he has been called "Putin's man") and the choice to allow President Putin to speak but to deny Duda, the Polish president, the same privilege? No one will openly admit as much, of course, but anyone who’s been following the diplomatic tensions between Russia and Poland, which reached a peak last month, may be wondering who had an interest in standing by the Russian president at this time and shunning his Polish counterpart.For months now, Putin has been waging a blatantly anti-Polish campaign, claiming, in part, that Poland played a part in the outbreak of World War II and that it collaborated with Nazi Germany. Soviet/Russian-Nazi German cooperation, which culminated in the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that divided Poland between the two occupying countries, is now being depicted by Putin as unavoidable and something that was actually meant to help Poland.MFA Russia@mfa_russia  ?Today attempts are being made in a number of western countries to equally blame both Hitler’s Germany and the Soviet Union for the II World War breakout. Many of these countries are turning a blind eye to number of facts.#WWII #History #Commemoration #USSR #Germany #PolandGeorgette Mosbacher@USAmbPoland  Dear President Putin, Hitler and Stalin colluded to start WWII. That is a fact. Poland was a victim of this horrible conflict.This distortion of history led to a justified Polish fear that Putin would use the platform he is given at Yad Vashem to perpetuate anti-Polish revisionism - while the Polish president would be forced to look on from the audience, unable to defend himself, his country and the historical record. For this reason, too, Duda’s request to join the list of speakers is warranted.Bear in mind that the Polish government, too, is not above distorting history or involving political interests in the memory of World War II.When the Israeli and Polish prime ministers issued a joint statement aimed at defusing the crisis over Poland’s new "Holocaust law," senior Yad Vashem historians argued (contrary to the stance of the institution’s chief historian, Professor Dina Porat, head of the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry) that it was marked by "grave errors and deceptions" - distorting history and insulting the memory of the Holocaust. The controversial part of the statement was the claim that many Poles helped save Jews during the Holocaust and that Poles were only minimally involved in persecuting Jews.Poland did not invite Putin to the ceremonies it held on September 1 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. Representatives from the U.S. and Germany were invited and also spoke at the event about Polish suffering during the war. And Putin, not surprisingly, has not been invited to the ceremony to be held at Auschwitz in Poland on January 27.Now add to this already complicated equation the internal politics of the Jewish world, particularly the rivalry between the two contenders for leadership of prestigious diaspora institutions – Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, and Moshe Kantor, head of the European Jewish Congress. The two are not cooperating with one another: Lauder is not attending the Yad Vashem event but will attend the event at Auschwitz four days later.As the world’s most important institution for preserving the memory of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem has a duty to keep as far away from all the politics, diplomatic and organizational, as possible and to ensure its only considerations are professional, historical and commemorative.But the decision to allow Putin but not Duda to speak could be perceived as Yad Vashem and the Israeli government taking Putin’s side – a move that in this context amounts to tacit support for Putin’s distorted narrative concerning the division of Poland at the start of World War II and the whitewashing of the Soviet Union's handshake with Hitler.Yad Vashem would have been far better off staying away from all this, by openly disavowing Putin’s recent statements and giving his Polish counterpart the chance to be heard too.(4) Putin brands Poles as allies of Hitlerhttps://www.rferl.org/a/memory-wars-polish-and-russian-fight-over-world-war-ii-shifts-to-auschwitz/30386948.html'Memory Wars': Polish, Russian Fight Over World War II Shifts To AuschwitzJanuary 20, 2020 08:53 GMTBy Mike EckelAuschwitz -- the Nazi death camp in Poland where more than 1 million Jews, Poles, and other people died -- was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945.This much, Poland and Russia can agree on.But not much else when it comes to World War II. Or a growing number of prewar, and postwar, Cold War events, for that matter.And they certainly can’t agree on the proper way to mark the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation, or which countries’ presidents should have a place of honor, and where, and how.For years, Russia and its former Soviet satellite have locked horns over how to properly interpret the war years and their aftermath, a reflection in part of President Vladimir Putin's efforts to champion Soviet war victories, and, more broadly, Soviet accomplishments. Poland’s nationalist ruling party has made confronting Russia, and defending aspects of Polish history, a prominent plank of its guiding philosophy.But Polish-Russian skirmishing has risen to a new crescendo in recent weeks, in the run-up to the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation.Invited to official Polish ceremonies to be held at Auschwitz on January 27, Putin declined, according to organizers. Instead, Putin was scheduled to travel to Jerusalem four days earlier, to attend an alternative commemoration -- hosted by a Kremlin-connected tycoon. Poland’s president was invited to Jerusalem but backed out because he would not be allowed to speak."I am extremely upset and worried about the new situation in relations between our countries," said Natalia Lebedeva, a prominent Russian historian and expert on Soviet-Polish relations."I am afraid that this is not just a war of words, but something more serious," she told RFE/RL in an e-mail.Cold HistoryWarsaw’s animosity toward its eastern neighbor is rooted in centuries of rival empires and invading armies who have seen what is now modern Poland as an invasion route, or simply an appendage to more powerful empires.For centuries, the territory of modern-day Poland had been carved up between Russia, Prussia, and the Austro-Hungarian empire. After World War I, an independent state -- the Second Polish Republic -- was established, but lasted only until 1939, when Moscow and Berlin signed a nonaggression pact that also included a secret protocol providing for Poland to be carved up again.That agreement, part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, took effect when World War II started, and Nazi and Soviet armies invaded Poland.Though the agreement was published in the West after the war, its existence was denied by the Soviet Union for decades, until 1989; the declassified Soviet document was published in Russia in 1992.Last year, the pact, and the secret protocol, drew new scrutiny on the 70th anniversary of its signing, on August 23, 1939.Poles, and most Western historians, labeled the pact treacherous. Russian officials, however, sought to rationalize it, publicizing archive documents that they claimed showed that it was Hitler, not Stalin, who pushed for the pact and that the Soviet Union had no choice but to sign it in order to buy time and ensure its security.The comments jarred with more conciliatory comments Putin himself made 10 years earlier, in an article he penned for a Polish newspaper, in which he called the pact "pointless, harmful, and dangerous."'A Triumph Of Soviet Diplomacy'During his first two terms as president in the 2000s, Putin made clear that he felt Soviet history had been unfairly distorted. In 2005, he called the collapse of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century."But the trend accelerated after he returned to the presidency in 2012, following a four-year hiatus as prime minister. And it grew further after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014, which is considered hallowed ground for the Kremlin.Last September, the European Parliament passed a resolution that blamed the 1939 nonaggression pact for the outbreak of World War II. Russia responded with weeks of angry criticism of the resolution. Russia’s culture minister called the 1939 pact "a triumph of Soviet diplomacy."On December 19, during his annual marathon news conference in Moscow, Putin said it was "totally unacceptable and inaccurate" to blame both Hitler and Stalin for sparking the war.He also revisited the Kremlin argument that Stalin was forced to sign the pact, only because Britain and France had betrayed Moscow by signing the 1938 Munich Agreement with Hitler.One day after the news conference, at a meeting with heads of former Soviet states, Putin gave an hour-long history lecture about the war.On December 25, he targeted Poland’s prewar envoy to Nazi Germany, telling Russian defense officials that, according to Soviet records, the envoy asked Hitler to expel the country’s Jews to Africa, and promised to build a monument to the Nazi leader in Warsaw if he did."That bastard! That anti-Semitic pig," Putin said.That appeared to be the last straw for Warsaw. On December 29, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki issued a blistering, 1,300-word statement criticizing Moscow."Today, when certain individuals wish to trample the memory of these events in the name of their own political goals, Poland must stand up for the truth -- not for its own interests, but for the sake of what defines Europe," Morawiecki said.And then there’s Auschwitz: the network of Nazi facilities, officially known as Auschwitz-Birkenau, that is now synonymous with the genocidal ideology of the Nazis. In all, more than 3 million Polish Jews were killed during the war, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.The Red Army moved into the southern Polish town and liberated the camp on January 27, 1945 -- the event is now marked as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.As with past years, Poland will host a ceremony at Auschwitz on January 27; this year, more than 100 survivors of the camps will also attend, as will heads of states and dignitaries from nearly four dozen countries.Putin, who did not attend the 70th anniversary events, was invited to this year’s ceremonies, but declined; the Russian ambassador to Poland is on the list of invited guests."Each country makes a decision about their own delegation to the commemoration event," Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the ceremony organizers, told RFE/RL. "That means the decision about the Russian delegation is taken independently by Russia which chose to be represented by its ambassador to Poland."Instead, Putin will attend an event held on January 23 at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem memorial, organized by the World Holocaust Forum, an organization founded by a Russian Jewish businessman, Vyacheslav Kantor.Known more widely as Moshe, Kantor heads the European Jewish Congress. He is also, as of 2018, on the U.S. Treasury Department’s so-called "oligarchs list" -- a tally of nearly 200 businesspeople and political figures alleged to have close ties to the Kremlin.Polish President Andrzej Duda had been invited to attend, but backed out, after organizers refused his request to speak during the ceremonies "before or after Vladimir Putin.""It is a prerequisite that, as a representative of the country which had the most citizens murdered at Auschwitz, I can speak about historical truth," Duda said.Memory WarsFor decades, one of the most painful aspect of Russia-Polish history was the 1940 massacre of 22,000 Polish military officers and civilians at Katyn Forest. In 1990, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev admitted that it was the Soviet secret police who carried out the execution.In recent years, Russian and Polish historians had collaborated, in a semiofficial capacity, in an organization called the Polish-Russian Group for Difficult Issues. The academics published joint articles examining different parts of the two countries’ overlapping history.But, said Slawomir Debski, a Polish historian and head of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, after the 2014 Crimea annexation, there was a shift in how Russia sought to reinterpret 20th century history."The Russian side lost interest in any historical dialogue whatsoever," Debski told RFE/RL.In 2015, in an interview in the Russian government newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta, Andrei Artyzov, the head of the Russian State Archives, deflected blame away from Russia or the Soviet Union."The historical memory war is not our choice," Artyzov told the newspaper. "It was not us who started the war."Polish politics have also taken a more nationalistic turn, under the Law and Justice party, which won an outright parliamentary majority in 2015. In 2018, Duda signed into law a measure that made it illegal to say that Poland was complicit during the Holocaust.After an outcry from the United States and the European Union, lawmakers removed the criminal penalties, instead calling for fines.More recently, the Polish parliament on January 9 passed a resolution against what it called the "manipulation of facts and a distortion of history by Russian politicians aimed at discrediting Poland and worsening Polish-Russian relations."Top Russian lawmakers responded days later, asserting that it was Poland who was rewriting history.On the anniversary of the Red Army's liberation of Warsaw, on January 17, Russian officials held a fireworks display over Moscow. Poland's Foreign Ministry responded, criticizing what it said were Moscow's attempts at rewriting history and calling on Russia to "accept its difficult past.""We respect soldiers’ blood sacrifice in the fight vs Nazism, but in 1945 Stalin's regime brought [Poland] terror, atrocities, and economic exploitation," Poland's Embassy in Moscow said in a post on Twitter. "The Red Army liberated Warsaw from the Nazis, but did not bring freedom to the Poles!"Lebedeva, who is renowned for her research on the Katyn killings, said she was shocked that Russian lawmakers in their speeches were making no mention of the Katyn massacre, and others that occurred in 1940, rhetorical attacks, she said, "which are not only directed against Poland, but also, to a certain extent, are aimed at restoring the cult of Stalin.""Shouldn’t our country repent for these killings?" she told RFE/RL. Lebedeva said her opinions were her own and not that of her employer, the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World History."I think that this would be important not only for the restoration of historical truth, but so that in our country something like the repressions against our own and other peoples that [took place] during Stalinist rule don’t reoccur," she said.(5) German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934 was abrogated by Hitler in 1938 when Poland was his next targethttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German–Polish_Non-Aggression_PactGerman–Polish Non-Aggression PactThe German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact was an international treaty between Nazi Germany and the Second Polish Republic that was signed on January 26, 1934. Both countries pledged to resolve their problems by bilateral negotiations and to forgo armed conflict for a period of 10 years. The pact effectively normalised relations between Poland and Germany, which had been strained by border disputes arising from the territorial settlement in the Treaty of Versailles. Germany effectively recognised Poland's borders and moved to end an economically-damaging customs war between the two countries that had taken place over the previous decade.Before 1933, Poland had worried that some sort of alliance would take place between Germany and the Soviet Union to the detriment of Poland. Therefore, Poland made a military alliance with France. Because the Nazis and the Communists were bitter enemies of each other, a hostile Soviet-German alliance after Hitler came to power in 1933 seemed very unlikely.[1]One of the most noted of Józef Pilsudski's foreign policies was his rumoured proposal to France to declare war on Germany after Adolf Hitler had come to power, in January 1933. Some historians speculate that Pilsudski may have sounded out France on the possibility of joint military action against Germany, which had been openly rearming in violation of the Versailles Treaty. France's refusal might have been one of the reasons that Poland signed the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact. [...]Pilsudski used Hitler's rise to power and international isolation of Germany's new regime as an opportunity to reduce the risk that Poland would become the first victim of German aggression or of a Great Power deal (especially the Four Power Pact). Germany's new rulers seemed to depart from the traditionally-Prussian anti-Polish orientation. Pilsudski regarded the new chancellor as less dangerous than his immediate predecessors, such as Gustav Stresemann, and he saw the Soviet Union as the greater threat and even opposed French and Czechoslovak efforts to include the Soviet Union in a common front against Germany.The Poles insisted on stating that it did not nullify any previous international agreements, in particular the Franco-Polish Military Alliance. Nevertheless, by easing Poland's disputes with Germany bilaterally, the treaty weakened France's diplomatic position against Germany.To allay any fears of a war against the Soviet Union, on May 5, 1934, Poland renewed the Soviet–Polish Non-Aggression Pact, which had been first signed on July 25, 1932. It was extended until December 31, 1945, ignoring Hitler’s repeated suggestion to form a German-Polish alliance against the Soviets. [8]Poland was able to maintain friendly relations with Germany for the next five years but also with France and Britain. However, it may have also led to foreign policy inattentiveness regarding the activities of the crumbling League of Nations and ignoring the collective security schemes proposed by French and Czechoslovakia in the early 1930s. [...]German policy changed drastically in late 1938, after the annexation of Sudetenland sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia, and Poland became Hitler's next target. In October 1938, German Foreign Minister Joachim Ribbentrop presented Poland with the proposition of renewing the Pact in exchange for allowing the Free City of Danzig to be annexed by Germany and the construction of an extraterritorial motorway and railway through the Polish Corridor, with Germany accepting Poland's postwar borders.[11] Since Poland refused, Hitler rescinded the Pact unilaterally on April 28, 1939,[12] during an address before the Reichstag, as Germany renewed its territorial claims in Poland. After another few months of rising tension, and following the execution of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, which contained a secret protocol by which Hitler and Stalin agreed to divide Poland between them, Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, initiating World War II.This page was last edited on 1 January 2020, at 11:41 (UTC).