Polish president to signal Holocaust invoice into legislation

Jim Watson  AFP  Getty Images

Jim Watson AFP Getty Images

Polish Radio's educational website GermanDeathCamps.info has had more than 100,000 hits since its launch in the wake of worldwide backlash at a Polish law to penalise the use of the phrase "Polish death camps". Those who will be convicted will face fines or be jailed for up to three years.

Duda's top foreign policy adviser Krzysztof Szczerski told public television TVP that the law should be sent to the Constitutional Tribunal within a week.

The President's office says the majority of the legislation will take effect 14 days after it appears at the country's Journal of Laws - which could happen as early as Wednesday.

"We are urging the president of the Republic of Poland [Andrzej Duda] to exercise his constitutional powers and, together with the Sejm and Senate of the Republic of Poland, to return balance, rationality and well-wishing to the Ukrainian-Polish relations", the statement says.

France has joined the United States and Israel in criticising Poland's new Holocaust law, describing the text as "ill advised".

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"Enactment of this law adversely affects freedom of speech and academic inquiry", Tillerson said.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the government of Poland has cancelled the minister's scheduled visit to Warsaw this week after Bennett pledged to use the visit to "make it clear" that Polish complicity in the Holocaust was an historical fact that can not be erased.

Secretary of State Tillerson said that while "terms like "Polish death camps" are painful and misleading, " they are best countered through "open debate, scholarship, and education".

The bill has drawn a chorus of criticism from countries including Israel and the United States.

It hoped that Poland would still amend the law.

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"We hope that within allotted time until the court's deliberations are concluded, we will manage to agree on changes and corrections", the spokesperson said.

The new law was "a badge of shame" for Poland that "insulted" Holocaust survivors and "paved the way for Holocaust deniers", Merav Ben-Ari, a centrist MP said.

While there is a consensus among historians that certain Polish individuals and groups did collaborate with the Nazi occupiers, recent Polish governments have sought to challenge that narrative.

According to figures from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Nazis, who invaded Poland in 1939, also killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians.

Barbed wire fences are pictured at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Oswiecim, Poland on January 27, 2018.

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The bill imposes criminal proceedings for allegedly defaming Poland by assigning complicity to the country for Holocaust crimes committed on Polish soil.

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