Poland's President To Sign Holocaust Bill Into Law

Violet Powell
February 7, 2018

Poland's president on Tuesday signed legislation that outlaws blaming Poland as a nation for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany, defying both criticism from Israel and a warning from the U.S.

The bill was supported by 57 senators, mainly from the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) Party, 23 voted against the document, and two abstained.

Future generations must internalize the lesson of the Holocaust, Netanyahu said.

Jews from across the continent were sent to be killed at death camps built and operated by Germans in occupied Poland - home to Europe's biggest Jewish community at the time - including Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.

Poland's right-wing government says the law is necessary to protect the reputation of Poles as victims of Nazi aggression.

Holocaust scholars and institutions have strongly denounced the law as well, arguing that its unclear wording creates the potential for abuse.

But he said the point of the law is to prevent Poles and Poland from being wrongly accused of institutionalized participation in the Holocaust.

But he said the Polish state bore no responsibility because it ceased to exist following the invasion by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in response to Duda's announcement that "Israel continues to work with the authorities in Poland and expresses to them Israel's reservations about the Polish 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. It is the opinion of this author that the use of the term "Polish death camps" is misleading and simply untrue.

Duda's move comes despite a warning by the United States, of which Poland is a staunch ally, that the legislation could damage Warsaw's relations with America as well as with Israel. "The resulting divisions that may arise among our allies benefit only our rivals". "If 150,000 Jews survived World War II, most of them, if not all, survived thanks to the Polish population".

Klimek, who as a leader of the TSKZ represents Poland's 6,000-strong active Jewish community, said the bill is "stupid" and should never have been submitted - let alone the day before International Holocaust Memorial Day.

Moreover, whilst the concentration camps were the site where Jewish people were killed in the millions, the murdering of Poles of Christian and other denominations (numbering in the hundreds of thousands) should not be discounted or forgotten.

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

"The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it", Bennett said Monday, adding that the government of Poland canceled the visit because he spoke of "the crime of its people".

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