Published: Wed, February 07, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Poland's Prez says he will sign Holocaust bill

Poland's Prez says he will sign Holocaust bill

Thousands of Poles risked their lives to protect Jewish neighbours during the war.

"This law is incompatible with democratic values and paves the way for manipulations and the strengthening of anti-Ukrainian tendencies in Polish society", she told lawmakers.

The legislation hasn't only sparked a bitter dispute with Israel. In a statement released yesterday, Mr Bennett said he "felt honoured" by the cancellation for what he sees is a rewriting of the past.

It says that "whoever accuses, publicly and against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich ... shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years". "The existence of certain collaborators does not change anything", Gabriel said.

The document states that the Polish law banning "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists" provides for a "biased and anti-historic definition of this concept, which opens up the road to manipulation and strengthening of anti-Ukrainian tendencies in Polish society". The law has sparked aggressive disputes within Poland as well as overseas.

"We hope that within allotted time until the court's deliberations are concluded, we will manage to agree on changes and corrections", said a spokesperson for Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to CNN.

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He added that he would ask the Constitutional Tribunal for a number of clarifications about the bill.

Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust overall. "Israel and Poland hold a joint responsibility to research and preserve the History of the Holocaust".

A leading figure in the Jewish American community has criticized Poland's handling of its new Holocaust law.

"No, there was no systemic way in which Poles took part in it", he said.

More than three million of the 3.2 million Jews who lived in pre-war Poland were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of all Jews killed in the Holocaust. They say it was modeled on anti-defamation laws in many other countries, including laws criminalizing Holocaust denial.

Meanwhile, Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his country was committed to combating lies about the Holocaust. "I made the decision to sign this amendment to the bill into law", he was quoted as saying by Russia's Tass news agency.

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By refusing to veto the bill, Duda dashed any possibility of political negotiations, which Israel and the United States had still hoped for in recent days.

"We must protect the good name of Poles and of Poland", Poland's president said.

Holocaust historians and other scholars in Poland and overseas came out firmly against the law, with many saying it will lead to self-censorship.

Israel slammed the new proposed legislation, emphasizing that Poland was instrumental in the extermination of Jews during World War II.

Historians of the era, Jewish groups, the U.S. State Department and the Israeli government are all critical of the rhetoric law, which they said could inhibit academic freedom and distort the historical record of World War II.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda gives a press conference to announce that he will sign into law a controversial Holocaust bill.

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The European Commission chose to take action after Poland introduced 13 new laws in two years which is says threatens the rule of law. It needs Duda's signature to become law.

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