Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law late last night, a controversial new Holocaust bill. Under the law, it would be illegal to accuse Poland of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including crimes related to the Holocaust. It would also ban the use of terms such as “Polish death camps” when describing places like Auschwitz and other places. Violations would be punishable by a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years.
The law has drawn criticism from the U.S., Israel and France. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “The United States reaffirms that terms like ‘Polish death camps’ are painful and misleading. Such historical inaccuracies affect Poland, our strong ally, and must be combated in ways that protect fundamental freedoms. We believe that open debate, scholarship, and education are the best means of countering misleading speech.”
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it will continue to discuss the law with Poland. “We hope that within allotted time until the court’s deliberations are concluded, we will manage to agree on changes and corrections. Israel and Poland hold a joint responsibility to research and preserve the history of the Holocaust,” a spokesperson said.