Legislation in Poland Regarding Crimes Committed During the Holocaust

Legislation in Poland Regarding Crimes Committed During the Holocaust

Morawiecki stressed that Poland would never limit the freedom to debate the Holocaust and added that Warsaw understood Israel's emotions about the issue. "No law will change the facts", Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said yesterday.

"We all must be careful not to inhibit discussion and commentary on the Holocaust", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in the statement.

"We're facing the biggest crisis in Polish-Jewish relations since after 1989", said Agnieszka Markiewicz, the director of the American Jewish Committee's Central Europe office, to my colleague Rick Noack.

He did, however, say that Poland should have better explained its intentions to the world and acknowledged the timing was "unfortunate".

Katz, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, called on the premier to recall the Israeli ambassador to Poland for consultations.

He pointed out that some Poles sacrificed their own lives to save Jews from the Nazis, and that the Polish underground and government in exile resisted efforts to wipe out European Jewry.

Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party said the measure was meant to protect Poland's reputation and clarify its history. It bans, among other things, the ideology associated with Ukrainian war criminal and Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera who killed thousands of Poles together with his associates in Volhynia.

Reiterating that the term "Polish death camps" was indeed erroneous, Yad Vashem said that nevertheless "the correct way to combat these historical misrepresentations is not by criminalising these statements but by reinforcing educational activities".

Russia's Syria peace strategy in question
The talks were moderated by Russian Federation and Iran , on the side of Damascus, and Turkey , which aligns itself with several armed opposition groups.

Poland's deputy chief of mission in Israel, Piotr Kozlowski, said that the goal of the law "is not to whitewash history, but to safeguard it and safeguard the truth about the Holocaust and prevent its distortion".

Washington also expressed concern that the bill "could undermine free speech and academic discourse" and have repercussions on Poland's ties with the United States and Israel.

"Israel views with utmost gravity any attempt to challenge historical truth".

The world's oldest Jewish service organization called on the Polish authorities to "reverse this ill-conceived law", adding that "openness and education are the keys to establishing a historical record based on truth rather than painful inaccuracies".

The controversial bill now only needs the signature of the Polish president to become law, at which point anyone referring to "Polish death camps" or Polish collaboration with the Nazis during the Holocaust will risk three years in jail.

Poland's Senate [official website, in Polish] approved a legislation [text, PDF, in Polish] Thursday criminalizing speeches against the national government that suggest the country was responsible for the Holocaust. It exempts artistic and research work.

The upper house of parliament voted 57-23, with two abstentions, to approve the bill.

Polish President Andrzej Duda now has 21 days to sign the bill into law.

Related Articles