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Israel, Poland in row over Holocaust bill

Israel, Poland in row over Holocaust bill

The law comes in response to several instances in recent years when foreign media utilized the phrase "Polish death camps" in order to describe Auschwitz and other extermination camps operated in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Polish MPs have passed a bill providing for imprisonment for up to three years for those who use phrases that imply that Poland bears responsibility for crimes against humanity committed by Nazi Germany.

Israel's President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement about the legislation that there were Polish people who aided the Nazis and those who fought against them.

While the law has yet to be passed, it is likely to be approved by the Polish senate and president.

"I utterly condemn the new Polish law which tries to deny Polish complicity in the Holocaust. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered on its soil without them having met any German officer".

Those who oppose the law claim that it will be almost impossible to enforce the law outside of Poland and that within the country's borders, the law could restrict freedom of speech and affect indications of Polish involvement in crimes against Jews during World War II.

Poland was attacked and occupied by Nazi Germany in World War II, losing six million of its citizens, including three million Jews in the Holocaust. I don't need Holocaust education from you.

He added "we live with the consequences every day in our collective memory", and he called for the embassy to apologize immediately. "Your embassy should offer an immediate apology", Lapid responded.

For decades, Polish society avoided discussing the killing of Jews by civilians or denied that anti-Semitism motivated the slayings, blaming all atrocities on the Germans. It demonized Gross and investigated whether he had slandered Poland by asserting that Poles killed more Jews than they killed Germans during the war.

"There is no doubt that the term "Polish death camps" is a historical misrepresentation," the statement also said. "Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a Polish name, and Arbeit Macht Frei is not a Polish phrase", Morawiecki said later on Twitter.

"Both governments firmly oppose any form of discrimination on racial grounds and antisemitism, as well as any attempts at distorting the history of the Jewish or Polish peoples by denying or diminishing the victimhood of the Jews during the Holocaust, or using the erroneous terms of memory such as 'Polish death camps'". "However, restrictions on statements by scholars and others regarding the Polish people's direct or indirect complicity with the crimes committed on their land during the Holocaust are a serious distortion".

Polish government spokeswoman Joanna Kopcinska wrote on Twitter that the legislation aimed "to show the truth about the awful crimes committed on Poles, Jews, and other nations that were in the 20th century victims of brutal totalitarian regimes - German Nazi regime and Soviet communism".

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