(AP/Alik Keplicz)

Nowak has been involved in Polish-Jewish dialogue since the 1980s. 


A Polish diplomat charged with improving contacts with Jews worldwide has been fired after he criticized his own government’s approach to regulating Holocaust speech, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Jaroslaw Nowak, the plenipotentiary for contacts with the Jewish diaspora, described a Holocaust speech law passed by his country’s ruling party as “stupid.”

Nowak also said Poland should pass a law on property restitution, a statement implying further criticism of the ruling authorities, who recently passed a law cutting off the chances for restitution or compensation for those who had properties seized by the communists. Among those affected are Holocaust survivors and their heirs.

That law provoked a serious diplomatic dispute with Israel which still remains unresolved.

“Israel views with utmost gravity approval of the law that prevents Jews from receiving compensation for property that was stolen from them during the Holocaust and regrets the fact that Poland has chosen to continue harming those who have lost everything,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated at the time.

Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau fired Nowak on Saturday, the ministry spokesman, Lukasz Jasina, announced Monday on Twitter.

The development comes only days after Poland recalled its new ambassador to Prague after that diplomat criticized his own country — in that case, in relation to Poland’s approach to a dispute with the Czech Republic over a state-run coal mine.

The dismissal of Nowak came a day after an interview was published by Jewish News UK in which Nowak said legislation passed in 2018 seeking to ban certain statements about Poland and the Holocaust “is one of the stupidest amendments that was ever done by any law.”

Last year Poland also approved a law that sharply restricts the rights of Holocaust survivors or their descendants to reclaim property seized by the country’s former communist regime.

That law provoked a serious diplomatic dispute with Israel which still remains unresolved.

“I think at some point Poland will have to really come to the conclusion that we have to do something about” restitution, Nowak said.

United with Israel contributed to this report.

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