Poland Concerned by Hirchson Attendance at Holocaust March

Finance Minister's presence may be problematic in light of suspicions he embezzled funds from organizing group.

Polish officials have expressed concern recently regarding the possible attendance of Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson in the annual March of Remembrance and Hope scheduled to take place later this month in Poland.

The Poles explained Hirchson's presence might be problematic following suspicions that he embezzled funds from non-profit organizations that organize the march commemorating Holocaust victims.

Director of the Middle East Department in the Polish Foreign Ministry relayed his concerns last week during a meeting with the Israeli ambassador to Poland, David Peleg.

The Polish diplomat told Peleg that given the suspicions against Hirchson, his attendance might harm participants and outsiders' perception of the ceremony.

Peleg reminded the diplomat that Hirchson has not been indicted, and that Israel would view any form of official protest by the Polish government as an illegitimate transgression on an internal Israeli matter.

The diplomat later telephoned Peleg to clarify that he had only expressed his personal opinion.

The Foreign Ministry has declined to comment on the matter, but officials in the ministry have told Haaretz that the affair was a "source of embarrassment."

March organizers said that it was as of yet unclear whether Hirchson would indeed participate.

They noted that in either case the march will go on as scheduled with the attendance of Ministers Rafi Eitan and Yuli Tamir, as well as former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and some 8,000 Jewish youths from around the world.