World News

United States 'disappointed' by signing of Holocaust law in Poland

United States 'disappointed' by signing of Holocaust law in Poland

But Duda said he would send the law, which has sparked an outcry in Israel, to Poland's highest court so it can assess whether it is in keeping with the Polish constitution.

As now written, the legislation calls for prison terms of up to three years for falsely attributing the crimes of Nazi Germany to Poland.

Poland's authorities have described it as an attempt to protect the country's reputation from what it believes is confusion about who bears responsibility for Auschwitz and other death camps Nazi Germany set up in occupied Poland.

The move has caused a diplomatic crisis with Israel, which fears it will enable Poland to whitewash the role of Poles who killed or denounced Jews to Germans during the German occupation of Poland.

Andrzej Duda said in a televised address the legislation would safeguard Poland's worldwide reputation, but Israel called for amendments, saying the two countries had a "joint responsibility" to preserve the memory of the Holocaust.

After Bennett's statement, the government spokeswoman said the Polish side is "convinced" that soon the two sides will agree on a date to meet.

According to figures from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Nazis also killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, says Poland has made an "issue" out of its people's actions during the Holocaust and is denying the truth. It needs Duda's signature to become law, and he has spoken in its favor. "Israel and Poland hold a joint responsibility to research and preserve the history of the Holocaust", the Israeli government said in a statement on Twitter.




Azari told the commercial Radio Zet station on Monday that after Poland's Senate adopted the bill on Thursday she "had signals" she may be withdrawn but that "now I don't know".

He previously called Poland a victim of Nazi terror, saying six million Poles and three million Jews were murdered by German invaders.

Israel has repeatedly expressed outrage, claiming that it will stifle Holocaust discussion and allow for the whitewashing of crimes such as the denunciation and killing of Jews by Poles. It is the opinion of this author that the use of the term "Polish death camps" is misleading and simply untrue.

Israel's education minister said on Monday he was "honoured" Poland had cancelled his visit to Warsaw this week because he refused to retract his condemnation of the bill.

"It is an undeniable historical truth that many Poles helped murder Jews, providing information about them to the Nazis, handing them over, or murdering them themselves", said Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

"The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it", he said.

A historian and well-known "Nazi-hunter" at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Efraim Zuroff, says the number of collaborators runs into "many thousands".


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