Polish President Says Will Sign Holocaust Law

Polish President Says Will Sign Holocaust Law

Polish President Says Will Sign Holocaust Law

Poland's authorities say the law aims to protect the country's reputation from what it believes is confusion about who bears responsibility for death camps Nazi Germany set up in occupied Poland.

Bennett said only a small number of Poles risked their lives to save Jews during the war.

Ukrainian lawmakers have criticized a new Polish law criminalizing some statements about World War II, saying it will foment anti-Ukrainian sentiment.

Criticising Duda's move, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement: "Enactment of this law adversely affects freedom of speech and academic inquiry".

Israeli opposition to a law prohibiting blaming the Polish nation for Holocaust crimes has continued to spark anti-Semitic statements from officials and others in Poland, with some accusing Jews of speaking out against the bill for monetary gain.

Poland is angry that some of the Ukrainians who killed Poles are now being hailed as Ukrainian national heroes.

The measure 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. He said there had been no systematic collaboration of Polish institutions.

However, historians say others were complicit by acts such as informing on Jews in hiding for rewards, and participating in Nazi-instigated massacres including in Jedwabne where hundreds of Jews were murdered by their neighbours.

Israel's foreign ministry said it noted that fact and hoped "clarifications and amendments" would be forthcoming.

Duda said he will also consult with Poland's constitutional court for review.

"This is an opportunity for the government and the education minister to stop encouraging and funding delegations [to Poland] and at the same time to formulate a plan that will strengthen the experience of Holocaust studies through seminars in Israel and moving the March of the Living to Jerusalem", she wrote.

"We are also concerned about the repercussions this draft legislation, if enacted, could have on Poland's strategic interests and relationships - including with the United States and Israel", U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on January 31.

Each year, an estimated 40,000 students from Israel and overseas take part in schools trips to Poland, visiting concentration camps and memorials as part of Holocaust education programs.

A leading figure in the Jewish American community has criticized Poland's handling of its new Holocaust law. "I am going to speak truth, where the truth took place", he said.

Many Holocaust scholars, however, have concluded that some Poles helped the Nazis kill Jews on their territory.

"It is not credible to engage in the denial", Hoenlein said Tuesday. However Poland's government spokeswoman said there would be no such visit.

He did not immediately comment on Tuesday's signing of the law.

Analysts say that the legislation has isolated Poland from Israel, a key ally of the United States and neighbouring Ukraine.

Duda claimed that the law will prevent the wrongful accusation of Poles and Poland of any such involvement.

Duda added that he was aware of the "sensitivities" around this bill, including a "fear that it will not be possible to tell the truth - that it will gag the survivors".

Israel slammed the new proposed legislation, emphasizing that Poland was instrumental in the extermination of Jews during World War II.

The bill's global critics - which include the U.S. State Department and the Israeli government - argue that it violates freedom of expression.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda gives a press conference to announce that he will sign into law a controversial Holocaust bill.

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