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Poland’s tourism minister said Wednesday he was firing the head of the national tourism organization after he said he wanted to remove the Auschwitz memorial and a Jewish history museum from tours for foreign journalists.
Witold Banka said on Twitter he was dismissing Marek Olszewski immediately over “scandalous remarks” the head of the Polish Organization of Tourism made in Wednesday’s Gazeta Wyborcza daily.
The newspaper quoted Olszewski as saying he wanted to “promote the values of Poland‘s culture” and had “no need to show places and events relating to the history of other nations.”
According to the paper, he had removed the site of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz and Polin Museum of the History of Poland’s Jews, in Warsaw, from tours for foreign journalists.
“Auschwitz is not a tourism product but a place of martyrdom and deep thought, while we do promotion of Poland as a tourist attraction,” Olszewski said.
During World War II some 1.1 million people, mainly Jews but also Poles, Roma, Russians and other nationals were killed at Auschwitz.