After aggression towards Ukraine, a jubilee visit by the Russian head of state is not on the Polish government's wish list. Threats against Poland has torn up old wounds.
10 years ago everything was fine, when 12 heads of state and 30 foreign delegations met for a worthy celebration of the 60th anniversary. Vice President Dick Cheney was there - and Vladimir Putin acted as a welcome representative of those who liberated the death camp.
Around 1.1 million people were murdered in Auschwitz. One million of them were Jews from all over Europe.
"It was Russian troops who invaded - and who first got to see with their own eyes what crimes the Nazis had committed here. They were the ones who forever put out the cremation ovens of Auschwitz and Birkenau, Majdanek and Treblinka - and saved Krakow from being destroyed. For that 600,000 Russian soldiers had to give their lives. That was the price they paid to save the Jewish people - and many others - from total extinction," Putin then said.
To avoid getting a visit from the Russian president, the Polish government has ensured that this year's commemoration at Auschwitz, is not official, but an event sponsored by the state museum at the site and the international Auschwitz Council. On its website the museum informs that nearly 300 survivors will participate.
A spokesman for the European Jewish Congress, yesterday said to the news agency Reuters that it is shameful that the current political problems are allowed to shame the commemoration of a historic disaster. He reminded of that Nazism was crushed as a joint effort from both the Western Allies and the Soviet Army, and that Soviet paid a high price in terms of human lives and suffering.
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