03:07 GMT04 March 2021
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    Shevah Weiss, a Polish-born Jew who survived the holocaust to become deputy head of Israel's legislature during the 90's, has expressed his disapproval of recent Polish political moves to downplay the role of the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi Germany, stating that without the Soviets, there would be no freedom for Poland.

    Speaking to Polish television, Shevah Weiss, Israeli politician and the former Ambassador to Poland, stated that without the USSR's role in the liberation of Europe from fascism, the world would be a very different place, and that there would be no freedom for Poland.

    Speaking to Telewizja Polska on Tuesday, Weiss's commentary was related to the death of Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, a famous Polish wartime partisan, social activist, writer and foreign minister who was laid to rest earlier this week. Bartoszewski, who served as a moral authority for many Poles, rescued many Polish Jews from the Gestapo, and himself survived internment at Auschwitz.

    "Right now especially we will miss a man like Bartoszewski, who was able to establish a dialogue with Russia," Weiss stated. "This is important, because without the USSR, the world would have looked very different. There would be no freedom if not for the Soviet Union. If the USSR had not, together with the Allies, sacrificed so many people, it's unlikely that the Poles would have been able to reestablish their Polish identity," the former diplomat noted.

    The ambassador noted that in his view, Polish officials should join their Russian counterparts in Moscow on May 9 to celebrate Victory Day. "The Red Army freed my family. In the place of Polish authorities, I would have participated in the parade of May 9 in Moscow in honor of the victory over the Third Reich."

    Weiss, whose own family was saved from the Nazis by the Polish resistance, recalled that in 1944, "coming out from hiding, thin like skeletons, the first pea soup we received was from a major of the Soviet army. Exiting his jeep, he stretched out his hand to my father and said [in Hebrew]: Amkhu — 'one people'."

    Commenting on Polish lawmakers' decision late last month to carry over the official celebration of victory in Europe from May 9 to May 8, Weiss stated that he believes it to be a "demonstration of anti-Russian politics." Last month, Polish parliamentarians stated that there was "no reason for Poland to accept the Soviet interpretation of the war," deputies from the ruling Civic Platform adding that the Soviet liberation of Poland could not be considered a true "return of liberty."

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    Tags:
    politics, history, historical memory, memory, remembrance, diplomacy, Red Army, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Shevah Weiss, Israel, Soviet Union, Poland
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