Polish Consulate Cancels Award for Polish-Jewish Dialogue

The Jan Karski Humanitarian Awards Night is one of the Polish-Jewish saga’s annual doses of optimism. The event, organized under the auspices of the Polish-Jewish Dialogue Committee and hosted by the Polish Consulate in New York, recognizes Jews and non-Jews who are helping to heal the painful and in all likelihood permanent wounds that the near-total extermination of the country’s Jewish community created. But not this year: On Tuesday, the Consulate announced that the dinner was “canceled,” owing to “factors beyond our control which will impact the overall quality of the event.” 

Recognizing potential common ground between Poles and Jews is particularly difficult in the present climate, poisoned as it is by the still-ongoing debate over Poland’s Holocaust history law, which is the latest manifestation of a painful reckoning over responsibility for the murder of the country’s Jews. “Let’s focus on the issue of the Holocaust law. I think that’s where the attention and the priority needs to be right now,” said rabbi Joseph Potasnik, an executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis who received a Karski award in 2014. “The Jan Karski award can be given at a later date when feelings are different than they are at the present time.”

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