Yad Vashem apologizes for historical WWII inaccuracies

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The Yad Vashem Insitute has apologized for the content shown in its documentary during the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, which featured a number historical inaccuracies, including depicting the Soviet Union coming across as almost the sole victor over Nazi Germany.

In a letter sent to Israeli paper Haaretz, the institute admitted that the information in the documentary contained “inaccuracies” and “partial presentation of facts” which led to an “uneven impression”.

During the presentation at the Forum’s event, which was commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a map was shown which suggested that German aggression against Europe started in 1942 and featured Polish borders that had been drawn incorrectly which did not adhere to the borders from 1939 or even 1945.

In addition, territory labeled as Belarus reached as far as the Carpathian Mountains.

One of the maps was subtitled “Nazi conquest 1942”, which implied that the conflict started that year and failed to note Soviet aggression against countries like Poland, Finland and the Baltic States in the years prior despite the historical record. 

The map also referred to territory labeled as “East Prussia”, which belonged to Germany between 1933 and 1945.

The videos shown at the Holocaust Forum also did not mention the crimes of the Soviet Union during the Second World War, such as the mass execution of 20,000 Polish officers during the Katyn massacre or its co-responsibility in starting the Second World War.

“The videos did not contain any reference to the division of Poland between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany in 1939, nor any mentions of the occupation of Western Europe in 1940,” Yad Vashem wrote, adding that concentration camps had also been confused with death camps.

Yad Veshem also explained that the videos, which were meant to “show key points of the Second World War and the Holocaust had inaccuracies in them and the image of historic facts was one-sided.”

The institute emphasized that their responsibility towards Israel and the Jewish nation is to stick to historic facts and oppose attempts to distort political discourse in other states.

Haaretz’s editorial board pointed out that the apology did not include an explanation to what extent the Yad Vashem Institute was responsible for the content shown during the Holocaust event.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said he would not attend the commemoration in Jerusalem after Yad Veshem refused to allot a speaking slot to Poland despite allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to speak.

Title image: A map was shown with Polish borders drawn incorrectly, not adhering to the borders from 1939 or even 1945.

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