Poland's president yesterday apologised to Jews chased abroad 50 years ago during the communist regime's anti-Semitic campaign, in a move applauded by the Jewish community and seemingly meant to reduce tension with Israel and the US.
"The free and independent Poland of today, my generation, is not responsible and does not need to apologise. But... to those who were driven out then... I'd like to say please forgive the Republic, Poles, the Poland of that time for having carried out such a shameful act," Andrzej Duda said.
The 50th anniversary of the anti-Semitic campaign, which caused at least 12,000 Jews to leave Poland, comes amid heightened tensions with Israel over Warsaw's new controversial Holocaust law.
Meant to defend Poland's wartime image abroad, the law sets fines or up to three years in jail for anyone who notably ascribes Nazi German crimes to Poland.
But Israel sees it as a bid to deny that certain Poles participated in the genocide of Jews during World War II, while the US has also expressed concern over freedom of speech.