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Resignation of Polish historian with fascist past

WARSAW (AP) – A Polish historian resigned from his post at the government’s historical institute on Monday after a controversy over his longstanding ties to a far-right organization and photos of him giving the fascist salute with his arm outstretched.

Tomasz Greniuch had recently been appointed to head the Warsaw office of the Institute of National Memory, a state organization whose function is to document Nazi and Communist crimes perpetrated on Polish territory.

The head of the institute, Jaroslaw Szarek, said in a statement Monday that Greniuch submitted his resignation and it has been accepted. Szarek noted that the circumstances surrounding his appointment had made it impossible for Greniuch to carry out his job.

The outrage was mounting in Poland, a country that suffered greatly under Nazi Germany in World War II. However, the fact that Greniuch was even appointed to the post was seen by some as evidence that the far right is gaining momentum under the power of the conservative Law and Justice party that rules Poland.

The party has tried to prevent other right-wing parties from making their way to its grassroots, which has at times led to leaders trying to attract ultra-nationalist voters.

Greniuch also wrote a book, « The Way of the Nationalist, » published in 2013 and which glorifies Léon Degrelle, a Belgian collaborator of the Third Reich, according to the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.