Polish president signs law barring some Holocaust speech

Polish president signs law barring some Holocaust speech

Polish president signs law barring some Holocaust speech

Duda also said he would send the measure to the Constitutional Tribunal for clarifications on whether it conformed with laws on freedom of speech.

Last week, on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Polish parliament passed a bill which would make public statements suggesting Polish complicity in Nazi atrocities a crime punishable by up to three years in jail. The United States also strongly opposes the legislation, saying it could hurt Poland's strategic relations with Israel and the U.S.

Bennett arranged the trip to Poland without coordinating it with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, but on a personal invitation from Jonny Daniels, a London-born Israeli activist for Holocaust commemoration, according to a report in Haaretz.

Jewish groups in the United States have accused the Polish government of "engaging in denial".

Poland's ruling party, the conservative PiS, has said the bill is needed to protect Poland's reputation and ensure historians recognize that Poles, as well as Jews, were victims of the Nazis.

The new law would outlaw publicly and falsely attributing the crimes of Nazi Germany to the Polish nation.

Deputy Justice Minister Marcin Warchol said it was wrong to suggest the bill would stop people researching Polish history. Many people were surprised when lawmakers suddenly approved it on January 26, the day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day .

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On Monday, Israel's education minister said Poland had cancelled a scheduled visit because he refused to back down from condemning the bill. The proposal has angered Israel, which says it will stifle discussion about the Holocaust and enable Poland to whitewash the role of Poles who killed or denounced Jews to Germans during the German occupation of Poland during WWII.

Before World War II, Jews made up 10 percent of Poland's population.

At least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish citizens were killed by the Nazis as well.

Israel is furious about the bill, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described as an attempt to rewrite history and deny the Holocaust.

"This organized mass murder was carried out by our country and no one else", Gabriel said, referring to the murder of 6 million Jews across Europe by Nazi Germany - including more than 3 million in then-occupied Poland. On Monday Kopcinska reminded Israel that Polish people were saving Jews from the Nazis. "The existence of certain collaborators does not change anything", Gabriel said.

Defending the law, Duda said it would not prohibit Holocaust survivors and witnesses from talking about crimes committed by individual Poles.

The current Polish government is guilty of believing that you can legislate in too many areas of social life and that you can force people to be historically accurate; this is likely to be a gross misstep.

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