Poland's President Says He Will Sign Controversial Holocaust Bill

Warsaw won’t listen to Israeli minister about Poland’s Holocaust ‘crimes

The bill foresees jail terms of up to three years for mentioning the term "Polish death camps" and falsely attributing Nazi German crimes at camps such as Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.

Polish politicians have long called for laws that prohibit expressions such as "Polish death camps" in reference to concentration camps operated in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The move has caused a diplomatic crisis with Israel, which fears it will enable Poland to whitewash the role of Poles who killed or denounced Jews to Germans during the German occupation of Poland.

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. It said it hopes Duda's decision to ask the constitutional court to evaluate the bill will allow both sides to "agree on changes and corrections".

The leaders of Ukrainian, Tartar, Jewish and other groups said in a letter published by the Polish Press Agency late Saturday they especially oppose recent "numerous and loud manifestations of anti-Semitism". Amendments to the law envisage fines or imprisonment for up to three years for "sharing responsibility before the Polish people or the state, including for crimes committed by the Third Reich".

"I am determined to clearly say that history has already confirmed that the people of Poland had a proven involvement in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust", Bennett had told reporters in his statement Monday.

The bill was passed by the Polish parliament before being presented to President Duda.

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In a gesture to Israel, Mr Duda said he would send it to the Constitutional Tribunal to check whether its regulations comply with the Polish constitution.

Some risked their lives and those of their families to shelter Jews; almost 7,000 have been recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center.

Polish officials have rescinded their invitation to Israel's Education Minister Naftali Bennett for a visit to Poland this week.

"One can not change history, and the Holocaust can not be denied", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement last week.

But he said the Polish state bore no responsibility because it ceased to exist following the invasion by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Tillerson referred to Poland as "our strong ally", and acknowledged that terms like "Polish death camps" were "painful and misleading".

At least 3 million Polish Jews and 1.9 million non-Jewish citizens were killed during the Holocaust, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. But research published since the fall of communism in 1989 showed that thousands also killed Jews or denounced those who hid them to the Nazi occupiers, challenging the national narrative that Poland was exclusively a victim.

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