Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said the armed guards, the exclusive focus on the Holocaust and no contact with Polish students were giving Israelis a “negative image” of Poland.
The Polish government wants to implement new rules regarding visits by Israeli students to study the Holocaust in the country, including reconsidering the presence of armed Israeli guards.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz explained that the armed guards, the exclusive focus on the Holocaust and no contact with Polish schoolchildren were giving Israelis a “negative image” of Poland, reported the Associated Press.
“There are also threads appearing [to suggest]that Poland is an anti-Semitic country, and for that reason, it’s dangerous here,” Przydacz told Radio RMF24.
He said that a new agreement is needed between Israel and Poland, adding that Warsaw has been trying to make such an agreement for months.
Last week, Israeli media reported that the Israeli Education Ministry announced that it was freezing youth trips to Holocaust sites in Poland.
The main reason for the cancellation is a disagreement between Israel and Poland over security arrangements during the visits, which are accompanied by armed Israel Security Agency agents. Poland had asked to reduce their presence, according to the report.
The report also cited Israeli officials as saying that Poland also sought to influence the content of educational messages passed on to Israeli youth during the trips. Poland is interested in presenting its view of the role of non-Jewish Poles during the Holocaust to improve Poland’s image.
A compromise was reportedly reached on the matter, according to the reports.
The ministry said in a statement that it was “continuing to have a dialogue with the Polish authorities, with the aim of reaching a solution for the various issues tied to the delegations’ visits, in light of the importance that the ministry attaches to remembrance of the Holocaust, and in this context, to the delegations.”
Israeli trips of youths to Poland began to occur in large numbers in the 1990s and became a central feature of national Holocaust remembrance activities.