Poland’s president issued an apology on Thursday for an anti-Semitic government campaign in 1968 that led a few 20,000 Jews to leave the us of a.

“To those who were thrown out, I say, forgive us,” President Andrzej Duda said in a speech marking the 50th anniversary of the marketing campaign. “through my lips Poland is looking forgiveness, asking them to be inclined to forget, to be willing to accept that Poland regrets very a lot that they may be no longer in Poland today.”

A wave of protests 50 years in the past led Poland’s communist government to signify the demonstrations were the work of a Jewish plot. Many Jews had been expelled from Poland, at the same time as many others chose to leave voluntarily.

The apology comes amidst the continuing international protest over a new law that makes it a criminal offense in charge the Polish nation for the Holocaust. The law is aimed at making it a criminal offense to call facilities like Auschwitz — run by Nazi soldiers in occupied Polish territories — “Polish dying camps.” Many Poles sense the phrase blames them for the deaths in a warfare that claimed the lives of 6 million Polish citizens.

but it has also been accompanied via a surge of anti-Semitic incidents, and Jewish companies, historians, and diplomats from Israel and the usa have strenuously objected to the regulation out of problem it might silence discussion of the a couple of instances of Poles committing atrocities at some point of the battle. On Tuesday, the Polish news website Onet Wiadomości suggested on a leaked memo from the us country department telling Polish diplomats that President Duda and Poland’s top minister might be barred from meeting with President Donald Trump till the law changed into repealed.

Duda’s apology seemed designed to allay worries that Poland changed into seeking to erase anti-Semitism in its beyond, and was properly-received even by using some of his party’s fiercest critics. Such apologies were politically fraught — Duda in my opinion attacked his predecessor for tarnishing Poland’s “good call” in an apology he issued for a 1941 incident wherein a set of Poles herded several hundred Jews into a barn and set it on hearth.

however Duda made clean it become Poland’s communist dictatorship — now not its people — that become chargeable for the anti-Jewish campaign of 1968.

“The loose and impartial Poland of today, my technology, isn’t responsible and does now not want to make an apology,” he said. “i’d like to mention please forgive the Republic, Poles, the Poland of that time for having finished this type of shameful act.”

additionally on Thursday, Polish prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said “we need to had been tons better in explaining all this” in the course of an look at the German Marshall Fund’s discussion board in Brussels. He stated the law became supposed to make clean that Poland turned into a victim of the battle, at some point of which there was no functioning country and polish territory became occupied via the armies of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

He additionally stated the law became like legal guidelines that make it against the law to deny that the Holocaust befell, which are on the books in numerous international locations, consisting of Israel.

“In 18 countries today, there’s a totally similar regulation that is predominantly around Holocaust denial,” Morawiecki said.

The Holocaust regulation is widely famous in Poland, but on Thursday a coalition of NGOs released a letter apologizing for the brand new law and stated that the statements by way of leaders who “are trying to find to whitewash Poles’ involvement inside the Holocaust” and “arouse anti-Semitic sentiment ” are “no longer being carried out in our name.”

The signers of the statement encompass Lech Walesa, who gained a Nobel Peace Prize for leading the rebellion in opposition to the communist authorities in 1989, but is now a goal of the ruling celebration, who accuse him of secretly colluding with the communist regime.

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