War of words over World War II continues between Poland and Russia

“Stalin’s regime brought (Poland) terror, atrocities, and economic exploitation,” said one of the Polish tweets.

By AP and World Israel News Staff

In a continuing dispute with Russia, Poland’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday listed cultural and economic losses the country suffered after Soviet troops took control of its territory at the end of World War II.

In a series of tweets, the ministry condemned what it said were attempts by Moscow to rewrite history and called on Russia to “accept its difficult past.”

The tweets were part of Poland’s reaction to Russia’s recent allegations that Poland bears some of the blame for World War II and that it has shown no recognition of the Red Army’s effort in driving the Nazis from Poland.

The Polish ministry said the liberation brought “decades of communist oppression” and huge material losses, including looted industrial installations, natural resources, and works of art, some of which remain in Russia.

“We respect soldiers’ blood sacrifice in the fight vs Nazism, but in ’45, Stalin’s regime brought (Poland) terror, atrocities, and economic exploitation,” one of the tweets said.

The bitter dispute comes just days before international ceremonies are scheduled to take place marking 75 years since the Red Army’s liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, that Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland, on January 27, 1945.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and other leaders are due to speak at the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem on Thursday at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. Polish President Andrzej Duda decided not to attend, saying he was not invited to speak.

Explaining the decision to include Putin but not Duda among the speakers, Yad Vashem said it was “especially appropriate that the leaders addressing this event represent the four main powers of the Allied forces [Great Britain, the United States, China, and the Soviet Union] which liberated Europe and the world from the murderous tyranny of Nazi Germany.”

The Holocaust Remembrance Center said that it was “pleased that over 40  leaders from Europe, North America, and Australia, recognized the importance of the message of this unique and truly historic event ‘Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Anti-Semitism,’ taking place for the first time in Jerusalem at Yad Vashem. Their attendance sends a clear message to the nations of the world of their commitment to this goal.”

Duda said he thought it would have been more appropriate to hold the event in Poland.

Observances are planned for January 27 at the site of the former camp, the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum, but Putin and various other leaders have said that they will not attend.

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Some 1.1 million people – mostly European Jews, but also Poles, Roma, Russian prisoners of war and others – were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau from 1940 to 1945.

World War II began in 1939 with Nazi German troops’ invasion of Poland, followed two weeks later by an invasion of Soviet troops. It all took place shortly after Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact that included a secret clause to jointly carve up Poland.