Jonny Gould
Podcaster, Jonny Gould’s Jewish State

Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s 10th president: We were also butchered by Polish people

President Reuven Rivlin is interviewed by Jonny Gould in Krakow at the European Jewish Association’s delegation to Auschwitz, January 2024 (picture: Jonny Gould)


In this exclusive interview recorded in Krakow, Reuven Rivlin, the tenth president of Israel pushes back on Polish law on remembering the Holocaust.

Israel’s tenth president, Reuven Rivlin in full flow interviewed by Jonny Gould at the European Jewish Association delegation to Auschwitz in Krakow (Jonny Gould)

President Rivlin was among world leaders of politics and industry at the European Jewish Association’s delegation to Auschwitz-Birkenau and to take part in a symposium on the growing threat of antisemitism in Europe, entitled NEVER AGAIN: Lip Service or Deep Commitment?

Also with us was former French prime minister Manuel Valls, a strong voice against antisemitism, Israel’s minister of the diaspora, Amichai Chikli and the business tycoon, Elon Musk, who gave us his initial thoughts after a first ever visit to Auschwitz.

Reuven Rivlin makes a speech at the Auschwitz commemoration ceremony in the anniversary week of its liberation, January 2024 (Jonny Gould)

In 2018, Poland amended their domestic laws on National Holocaust Remembrance to penalise speech in public which laid responsibility for the Holocaust on Poland or the Polish nation.

There was international outcry, relations between Israel and Poland were frozen, Israeli school trips to Poland’s death camps were suspended.

The tours are back now – although the law still applies.

There is no doubt that Poland suffered terribly at the hands of Hitler’s Germany. It was the first country invaded and occupied by Adolf Hitler.

Members of Poland’s resistance and government-in-exile did try to warn the world of the mass killing of Jews, thousands of Poles risked their lives to do so.

However, Holocaust researchers have collected overwhelming evidence of Poles who murdered Jews fleeing the Nazis, or Polish blackmailers who preyed on helpless Jews for financial gain.

Nearly all of Poland’s roughly 3 million Jews, were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators, and the major Nazi death camps were in Poland.

And in telling the truth with me in Krakow, the president challenges Polish law directly.

With all due respect, we were butchered here also by the Polish people”, he tells me while thumping the table we’re sat at.

And those are facts that we are not going to ignore. We have to educate the people to let them understand what happened in the Shoah, to let them understand what happened to their people and we will understand what happened to our people”, he added.

As the interview with me continued, President Rivlin told me how he confronted his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda during a state visit to Israel.

In Polish I said to Duda, “please, don’t ignore the past, you have to learn what happened in the past, saying that nothing happened that we were both the victims is not correct and in order to avoid and to understand what the words, “never again”are, you have first of all to remember what happened at the time. We said, “Never again” and the Polish have to know”.

Also this podcast interview, Mr Rivlin reflects on his time as president and discusses his family heritage as a Jerusalemite.

As a new Polish government contemplates overturning the laws of a previous administration, Reuven Rivlin makes his position clear on the Polish laws as they stand.

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Jonny Gould’s Jewish State is the Apple Podcast number one hit show. You can find every episode dating back to 2018 including interviews with Mark Regev, Hillel Neuer, Jason Greenblatt, Douglas Murray and many more right here.

About the Author
Jonny Gould is a TV and radio journalist and broadcaster and his number one hit podcast on Jewish and Israeli stories has emerged as Anglo-Jewry’s go-to-interview show. “Jonny Gould’s Jewish State”, launched in 2018, is a window into the dynamic of world Jewry and Israel and serves the world as a “podcast of record“. Jonny’s also a presenter on TalkTV in the UK and the world sports contributor to Israel’s i24News. On Sky News and the BBC, he earned a reputation for outspoken views on Israel and antisemitism, which are rarely voiced in the media.
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