Published: Wed, February 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Polish president to signal controversial Holocaust invoice…

Polish president to signal controversial Holocaust invoice…

Poland's president on Tuesday signed legislation that outlaws blaming Poland as a nation for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany, defying both criticism from Israel and a warning from the U.S.

"(This bill). protects Polish interests. our dignity, the historical that we are not slandered as a state and as a nation", said Duda, an ally of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) which introduced the legislation.

Andrzej Duda said in a televised address the legislation would safeguard Poland's global reputation, but Israel called for amendments, saying the two countries had a "joint responsibility" to preserve the memory of the Holocaust. The law will enter into force after signing by Polish President Andrzej Duda.

But in a move that appeared created to soften the impact of his decision, President Andrzej Duda said he would also ask Poland's constitutional court to evaluate the bill - leaving open the possibility it would be amended.

Neumann, head of the party's parliamentary caucus, also described the constitutional court as a body without independence that will rule as the governing party wants.

If Duda signs the bill, it will most likely worsen the crisis between Israel and Poland, because the two countries have agreed to establish joint teams to discuss the matter - because of the controversy it has caused.

The country has long objected to the use of phrases like "Polish death camps", which suggest the Polish state in some way shared responsibility for camps such as Auschwitz. Polish media, meanwhile reported that Jaroslaw Gowin, the deputy prime minister, ordered that the Israeli minister's visit be scrapped.

The Nazis and their collaborators systematically murdered six million Jews, wiping out a third of world Jewry. "But they were not the majority, and Poland definitely isn't responsible for the murder of millions of Jews". Polish people don't bear responsibility for the Holocaust, as such.

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"I think that the bill is precise and does not require a change".

Before the outbreak of World War II, Jews lived in Poland for centuries, thriving in some eras and even becoming the world's largest Jewish population at one point. "My aunt lives in Herzliya, and she perfectly understands this narrative". The idea seemed to have been dropped, but made a sudden reappearance when the lower house of parliament approved a bill on January 26, the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Some became Israel's founders and the Jewish state's first citizens.

In fact, she said, it has achieved exactly the opposite of what it aimed to achieve.

The Polish government says it aims to stop the Polish nation or state being blamed for the atrocities.

Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett said he will make a snap visit to Poland on Wednesday in the aftermath of a controversial bill passed by Poland's senate earlier this week that criminalizes any accusations of complicity by Poland with Nazi Germany or Nazi Death Camps. "The Government of Poland cancelled my visit because I mentioned the crimes of its people. I am honored", Bennett said in a statement, arguing that in calling off the trip, the Polish government had chosen "to avoid the truth".

"The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it", Bennett said in response to the cancellation.

Israeli officials have voiced strong objections to the law, saying it is rewriting history.

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