Statements

We regret to note that the authorities of Radomsko face unfounded criticism of censoring the speech of our guest, the Mayor of Kiryat Bialik, during a ceremony which took place in our city on 19 March 2018 to mark the anniversary of the Holocaust of Radomsko Jews by Nazi Germans.

A few days prior to the commemorations, the Israeli side asked us to translate into Polish the text of the speech to be delivered on Monday 19 March by Mr. Eli Dukorski, the Mayor of Kiryat Bialik, Radomsko’s partner-city.

The text featured descriptions of the tragic fate of Jews during World War II. It follows from the accounts that the murders and atrocities against Jews were committed by the Poles who murdered 200 thousand Jews in collaboration with the Nazis of no precise nationality. The stories that are quoted are of personal nature, so they should not be treated as a source of historical knowledge. They could no doubt be a subject matter of a debate between historians or of academic deliberations on the complex Polish-Jewish relations. Likewise, the numbers of the victims quoted in the address do not reflect the findings of most historians who deal with World War II. The theories outlined in the speech are challenged by many historians on the grounds of methodology and source study because they are not based on the research conducted so far.

 

Following consultations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we decided that we cannot interfere in the content of the speech of Kiryat Bialik’s Mayor who represents the administration of the State of Israel which has many ties and a strategic partnership with Poland.

We do not shun sensitive issues and historical disputes, but they should not be settled during official ceremonies. They should be addressed in reasoned discussions and academic conferences. For this reason we informally requested the Israeli side to agree on a more conciliatory nature of the Matzevah meeting that brings together mainly youth from Radomsko and Kiryat Bialik. This would make it possible for them to get to know each other better, foster warm and friendly relations, and reject stereotypes. Unfortunately, our partners from Kiryat Bialik did not change their position.

Irrespective of the Israeli side’s position, the authorities of Radomsko and the head teachers of local schools have honoured today the memory of the murdered Jews by laying flowers at the Matzevah and lighting candles, remembering our Jewish Radomsko fellow men.

We also made relevant arrangements (such as road closures) at the Radomsko sites which the Kiryat Bialik delegation was scheduled to visit. According to what had been agreed earlier, a lunch for the delegation was arranged at 12 am in schools no 2 and 9, and a meeting of Polish and Israeli youth took place at 2 pm.

I also wish to inform that I intend to ask Radomsko teachers to hold additional classes concerning the fate of Radomsko Jews and the Holocaust and to visit the KL Auschwitz, the largest German Nazi concentration and extermination camp where mostly Jews were murdered, alongside with Poles, Russians, and Gypsies.

We reaffirm our protest against using data that have not been justified by academic research when speaking about such painful issues as the fate of Poles and Jews during the German occupation. The only way to achieve a much-needed progress in the Polish-Jewish dialogue is to respect the truth.

Jarosław Ferenc

Mayor of Radomsko