Thursday, 18 October, 2018

U.S. disappointed over Poland's decision to sign Nazi legislation

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Yves Le Drian delivers a speech during a foreign ministers’ meeting on the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons in Paris France Despite Pressure, Poland's President to Sign Controversial Holocaust Bill
Glenn Montgomery | 08 February, 2018, 00:50

The website, launched on 30 January, highlights some of the atrocities of the Holocaust and stresses that the campaign to exterminate Jews was run by Nazi Germany and also saw millions of Poles and members of other ethnic groups killed.

The controversial bill prohibiting allegations of Polish involvement in Nazi war crimes during World War II has been signed into law by Polish President Andrzej Duda despite outrage in Israel and criticism in Europe and the United States.

The legislation imposes prison sentences of up to three years for mentioning the term "Polish death camps" and for suggesting "publicly and against the facts" that the Polish nation or state was complicit in Nazi Germany's crimes. The law takes effect 14 days after it's officially published, but it wasn't immediately clear when that will be.

"The death camps in Poland were built and operated by the Germans, and we can not allow them to evade responsibility for these actions", Bennett said.

The bill also prohibits phrases such as "Polish death camps".

What does the law say?

The Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (UINR) proposes, for security reasons of scientists, to continue the historical dialogue between Ukraine and Poland on Ukrainian territory, where there are no restrictions on assessments of the past, due to the adoption in Poland of the law on the Institute of National Remembrance, which foresees, in particular, punishment for "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists", the UINR's press service reported on Wednesday.

He added that he would ask the Constitutional Tribunal for a number of clarifications about the bill.

Slawomir Neumann of the centrist Civic Platform party accused Duda of giving in to the pressure of nationalists and anti-Semites and said his signing "deepens the diplomatic crisis".

The US State Department warned last week that the bill could have "repercussions" on "Poland's strategic interests and relationships".

The EU has stayed quiet on the Holocaust law.

Although the law exempts artistic and historical research work from the ban, the interpretation of which is vague.

"We believe that open debate, scholarship, and education are the best means of countering misleading speech", he said.

"[We] do not deny that there were cases of huge wickedness" in which Poles denounced Jews", Duda said in his Tuesday speech.

"The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it", Bennett later said in a statement.

"No, there was no systemic way in which Poles took part in it, " Duda said.

Israeli politicians spoke out in more strident terms.

Chęciński said many viewers were based in the US, Asia, and Central and South America.

Polish President Andrzej Duda has said there were no Polish concentration camps, but "such camps were built on the territory of the Polish state, which was non-existent at the time, by Germans, by Nazis".

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