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Poland Proposes Holocaust Law, Israel Objects

  • VOA News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Jan. 28, 2018.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday Israel will not tolerate “distortion of the truth, rewriting history, and denial of the Holocaust.”

Netanyahu was speaking out against a proposed law in Poland imposing fines and jail time on anyone who refers to the Nazi genocide of Jews as being a Polish crime, or the Nazi death camps as Polish death camps.

Israel’s foreign ministry summoned the Polish ambassador Sunday to express its objections.

Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial also warned against trying to change history.

“Restrictions on statements by scholars and others regarding the Polish people’s direct or indirect complicity with the crimes committed on their land during the Holocaust are a serious distortion,” it said in a statement.

Some experts fear the new Polish law could also mean jail for Holocaust survivors when talking about their ordeals.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, recognizing the extreme sensitivity of the law, promised Sunday to give it a “careful analysis” before signing it if it passes the Polish senate.

Poland was home to one of the world’s most thriving Jewish populations before Nazi Germany invaded in 1939. It murdered about 3 million Jews in death camps set up in Poland, including such chilling places as Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Holocaust survivors who returned to Poland after the war found themselves victims of further anti-Semitism. Some historians say many Poles collaborated with the Nazis in persecuting Jews.

Poland regards itself as having itself been a victim of Nazi terror and resents being blamed for crimes carried out by Hitler and his gang of murderers.

On Sunday, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted a metaphor comparing Jews and Poles in pre-war Poland.

“A gang of professional thugs enters a two-family house,” he wrote. “They kill the first family almost entirely. They kill the parents of the second, torturing the kids. They loot and raze the house. Could one in good conscience say that the second family is guilty for the murder of the first?”

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