Poland signs controversial Holocaust bill into law
The ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ gate at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz, which is located near Krakow in Poland (Picture: Reuters)

Poland’s president has signed a controversial Holocaust bill into law, despite widespread international criticism.

Now, under the new law, suggesting the country was at all complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust is an offence punishable with prison sentences of up to three years.

Poland accused of ‘rewriting history’ with new Holocaust law

President Andrzej Duda said in a televised address that the legislation would safeguard Poland’s international reputation.

‘(This bill) protects Polish interests,’ he said. ‘Our dignity, the historical truth… so that we are not slandered as a state and as a nation.’

Duda’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), a socially conservative and nationalist party, said the law is necessary to ensure that Poles are recognised as victims, not perpetrators, of Nazi aggression in World War II.

Poland signs controversial Holocaust bill into law
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda signed the controversial bill into law (Picture: AP)

However Israel called for amendments, saying the two countries had a ‘joint responsibility’ to preserve the memory of the Holocaust.

The many subtle and insidious forms of Holocaust denial

Israeli officials warned that the law would criminalise basic historical facts and stop any discussion of the role some Poles played in Nazi crimes.

‘We hope that within the allotted time, until the court’s deliberations are concluded, we will manage to agree on changes and corrections,’ the Israeli government said in a statement on Twitter. ‘Israel and Poland hold a joint responsibility to research and preserve the history of the Holocaust.’

Activists also say the passage of the bill has encouraged a rise in anti-Semitism.

Poland signs controversial Holocaust bill into law
Suggesting any Polish complicity in the Holocaust is now punishable by up to three years in prison (Picture: Getty Images)

More than three million of the 3.2million Jews who lived in pre-war Poland were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of all Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Jewish people 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.

Thousands of Poles risked their lives to protect their Jewish neighbours during the war.

However, research published since the fall of the USSR showed that thousands also killed Jews or denounced those who hid them to the Nazi occupiers, challenging the national narrative that Poland was solely a victim.

Original Article


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here