Three members of the advisory council for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum in Poland resigned after the government appointed a member of the country’s right-wing ruling party to serve on the body, The Associated Press reported Friday.
The Culture Ministry appointed former Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo to a four-year term on the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Council. The nine-member group of Poles meets once a year to advise the museum’s director and is separate from the International Auschwitz Council, which is made up of Holocaust survivors and experts.
Szydlo faced backlash in 2017 when she appeared to defend her conservative anti-migrant policies during a memorial observance at the former Nazi death camp. She said that “in today’s restless times, Auschwitz is a great lesson showing that everything must be done to protect the safety and life of one’s citizens.”
She later denied that her highly-criticized remarks were about refugees.
The politician is a member of the European Parliament for the Law and Justice party and grew up in the town of Oswiecim, where Auschwitz is located, AP noted.
Philosopher Stanislaw Krajewski was the first advisor to step down in protest to Szydlo’s appointment. He explained to the outlet that his exit was in response to the “politicization” of a group, adding that he was uncomfortable with political figures being added.
“It’s hard to say what would happen, but it would change the nature of the body very considerably,” Krajewski said. “I don’t want to be on the same council with a major politician of the ruling party today.”
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