Poland’s President Signs Bill that Criminalizes Blaming Poland for Holocaust Crimes
Ignoring pleas and warnings from Israel and the United States, Poland’s president has signed the bill that criminalizes saying that Poland committed war crimes during the Holocaust. The Poles insist all such activity was controlled by Nazi Germany while the Jewish world says the Poles are re-writing history in their favor. What the Polish parliamentarians see as attributing Germany’s crimes to Poland – even use of the expression “Polish death camps” is punishable to up to three years in prison. The new law is modeled after existing defamation laws including those which criminalize Holocaust denial. Nevertheless, the Israelis are angry over the bill and have seen its relationship with Warsaw unravel since it became an issue. The Polish contingent pulled out of a major tourism show being held in Tel Aviv this week and the government pulled the plug on a visit by the Israeli education minister in protest of Israel’s objections. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized the law as being restrictive of free speech, but those backing the law argue it’s no more so than anti-Holocaust denial laws.