Polish president to sign Holocaust bill

Polish president to sign Holocaust bill

The latter has demanded it to be reviewed. He added that he will tell his hosts, "I came to tell the truth where the truth occurred - and it's not dependent on any law". He also emphasized that he had been made cognizant of concerns that the law could potentially block artistic or historical works on the Holocaust during a trip to Israel previous year.

The law orders jail time or fines on anyone calling the Nazi murder of Jews during World War II a "Polish crime", or Nazi death camps "Polish death camps".

Polish minority and ethnic groups, including Jewish, Ukrainian and Russian, on Saturday urged Duda and other authorities to counteract all forms of xenophobia, although they did not directly call on him to exercise his veto on the bill.

But Poland also had its own anti-Semitic movements before the war - including government officials exploring ways to deport them from the country - and several anti-Jewish riots broke out as the Nazis conquered Polish territory.

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

The attitudes towards Israel are constantly improving in Poland and many young people have ahistorical but positive associations with Israel.

Duda said Tuesday he will sign the law though he would also ask the Constitutional Tribunal to suggest possible amendments.

More than three million of Poland's 3.2 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of the Jews killed in the Holocaust.

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The United States, too, has been highly critical of the law, suggesting that it could jeopardize Poland's strategic relations with Israel and the US.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the USA understands that phrases like "Polish death camps" are "inaccurate, misleading, and hurtful", but voiced concern the legislation could undermine free speech and academic discourse.

The bill is largely aimed at making it a crime to refer to Auschwitz and other Nazi camps established by German forces in Poland as "Polish death camps".

Historians maintain that some Polish individuals did participate in the Holocaust.

Israel sees it as an attempt to whitewash the role some Poles played in the killing of Jews during World War II.

The dispute over the "blame" law has deeply wounded the relationship between Poland and Israel.

A diplomatic row with Israel over a Holocaust bill adopted by the Polish parliament was rooted in misunderstanding, Poland's foreign minister said on Monday, but he did not rule out amending it, even after it is signed into law. "Enactment of this law adversely affects freedom of speech and academic inquiry", Tillerson said. It said in a statement that the law's "flaws are liable to result in the distortion of history due to the limitations that the law places on public expressions".

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