Polish institute points US senator’s misknowledge of Nazi crimes

"Poland was the first country which had militarily opposed Hitler's Third Reich," the Polish Institute of National Remembrance wrote in a statement released on Thursday, referring to the US Democratic senator Steve Cohen who put the occupied Poland and Nazi Germany on equal terms in the context of war crimes and the Holocaust.

During an interview with CNN, Steve Cohen, when asked about US Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's statement, in which she had said that "wearing a mask is exactly the same type of abuse suffered during the genocide of millions of European Jews during WWII," answered that "it's sad to see that Members of Congress have gotten to this low level.

"They don't understand history. They don't understand the Holocaust. You know, it was not just Nazi, Germany; it was also Poland, where some of this more severe, rigorous concentration camps were, like Auschwitz and Birkenau," he said.

Firm reaction of IPN and Kościuszko Foundation

The institute sharply criticised Cohen for his historical ignorance, and added that those of ill will have also similarly falsified Nazi crimes and thus “slandered all the victims of the German occupation”.

"The Polish state and the Polish army were fighting against the Germans during the entire war in the allied camp," it continued. "In the years 1939-1945 the entire territory of Poland was completely occupied by totalitarian enemies."

The IPN added that it was "on Polish soil, the German invader - acting against the Polish state and against international laws - built a network of German concentration and death camps."

"The victims of the criminal policy conducted by the German occupier were millions of Polish citizens, namely, millions of Polish Jews and millions of Poles," the IPN wrote, adding that it regarded his words as "slander on all the victims of the German occupation, including the Jewish and Polish ones."

The New York-based Kościuszko Foundation accused Mr Cohen of slandering Poland and making it guilty of German crimes.

"Last night on CNN, you lied and blamed Poland for the Auschwitz & Treblinka concentration camps during the Holocaust," the foundation wrote on Twitter.

"Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and wiped it off the map installing a German 'General Government.' They changed the name of the Polish town of Oswiecim to Auschwitz and built a concentration camp where one million people were murdered, most of them Jewish," it stated, adding that by making outrageous statements about the Holocaust, he was either ignorant or wilfully using revisionist history.