Culture&Arts

Israel accuses Poland of 'denial' over Holocaust law

Israel accuses Poland of 'denial' over Holocaust law

Under the bill, which is an amendment to an existing Polish law, anyone who suggests Poland was responsible for Nazi crimes could face a prison term. The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned Poland's deputy ambassador to express opposition to the bill, and made clear Jerusalem expects the draft to be amended before final approval.

The legislation, approved by the Polish parliament's lower house on Friday, was condemned by the Israeli leadership, accusing authors of the bill of attempting to distort historical truth.

The proposed bill sparked outrage in Israel, which is home to the world's largest community of Holocaust survivors.

"One can not change history and the Holocaust can not be denied". "Also among the Polish people, there were those who aided the Nazis in their crimes". Over one million people, predominantly Jews, died in Polish concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Treblinka.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel said Polish lawmakers were justified in the view that the term "Polish death camps" was misrepresentative, but urged them to protect freedoms to research and discuss the Holocaust in the country.

Trump's choice to appear instead at a World War II monument to a later non-Jewish rebellion against the German occupiers for a July speech ignited a debate on Poland's memory of the Holocaust and recent rightward drift.

Polish President Andrzej Duda sought to defuse the crisis by promising on Sunday to take a look at the bill provisions that alarmed Israel. Millions of its citizens were killed, including three million Polish Jews in the Holocaust.

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He gave the use of the phrase "Polish death camp" as an example, saying it distorts both Polish and Jewish history because the camps in World War II were run by the Nazi Germany regime.

But an analysis of the legislation by Haaretz, an Israeli daily, said it was so loosely worded that it could criminalise testimony by Holocaust survivors of anti-semitic behaviour by Poles during the Nazi German occupation.

Stanisław Karczewski, the speaker of the Polish senate, said on Sunday he would meet with Israeli Ambassador Anna Azari for a conversation "to eliminate doubts about the German death camps".

Yad Vashem issued a statement opposing the Polish legislation and trying to put into historical context the "complex truth" regarding the Polish population's attitude toward its Jews.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki responded via Twitter late on Saturday, saying "Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a Polish name, and "Arbeit Macht Frei" is not a Polish phrase", in reference to the words posted on the Nazi camp's infamous wrought-iron gate that mean "Work makes you free" in German.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment, and pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day. However, most historians agree that the truth is more complicated, and many Poles collaborated with the occupying forces and committed awful crimes.


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