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Poland Criticizes US Claim that Polish Law Glorifies Nazism


FILE - Protesters hold an anti-refugee banner during a rally, organized by far-right, nationalist groups, to mark the 99th anniversary of Polish independence in Warsaw, Nov. 11, 2017.

Poland's government is criticizing the claim of a U.S. congressman that a new Polish law glorifies Nazi collaborators and denies the Holocaust.

The charge was made by Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, one of two congressmen leading a bipartisan effort urging the State Department to pressure Poland and Ukraine to combat state-sponsored anti-Semitism.

"Our government should be concerned with the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and Poland. Both countries recently passed laws glorifying Nazi collaborators and denying the Holocaust," Khanna wrote Wednesday.

In the Polish case, Khanna referred to a new law that makes it a crime to blame Poland for the Holocaust crimes of Nazi Germany. The law has sparked criticism in the U.S. and particularly in Israel, where some fear its aim is to quash discussions about Polish anti-Semitic violence during the German occupation in World War II.

Amid Israeli criticism, some Polish officials and commentators have made comments considered anti-Semitic.

Andrzej Pawluszek, an adviser to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, told The Associated Press on Thursday that Khanna's words were "irresponsible and shocking."

Poland's deputy foreign minister Bartosz Cichocki, retorted Wednesday on Twitter: "Sir, I would appreciate if you indicated a single law passed in my homeland Poland (recently or not), which glorifies Nazi collaborators and/or denies Holocaust."

In a separate post, he added: "Equally, I would love to learn what exactly your government did to combat [the] Holocaust after being requested to do so by the Polish government-in-exile.''

During Germany's occupation of Poland during the war, the Polish government-in-exile struggled to warn the world of the mass killing of the Jews — a message that was largely ignored.

There was no answer at Khanna's Washington, D.C., office to a call made before office hours hours Thursday.

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