Did any Nazis deny the Holocaust?
Poland: Senate passes controversial Holocaust law
Poland's government is sticking to its controversial Holocaust law. In the meantime, the second chamber of parliament has also voted for the new rule. Before the law is passed, the draft has to be signed by President Andrzej Duda. The Polish head of state was reluctant to comment on the project. He will subject the final legal text to a "thorough analysis".
According to its own statements, the government in Warsaw intends to use the law to defend the country's reputation and also defend itself against the designation "Polish death camps" for German Nazi extermination camps in occupied Poland during World War II. The new regulation provides for fines or up to three years imprisonment for those who publicly attribute responsibility or joint responsibility to the Polish people or the Polish state for Nazi crimes committed by the "Third Reich" or for other crimes against peace or humanity or for war crimes.
Opponents of the law criticize that the law is formulated imprecisely. This could be used by rulers to deny cases where the responsibility of Poles in crimes against Jews has been proven.
The US expressed concern that the law could harm free speech and the historical debate. At the weekend, the Israeli government warned against covering up Polish crimes against Jews in World War II. "You cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
At the same time, Knesset MPs started an initiative with which they want to expand an existing Israeli law. This has been in force since 1986 and criminalizes people who publicly deny or trivialize the Holocaust or identify with crimes against Jews. The maximum sentence is five years in prison. Now the denial or trivialization of the participation of Nazi helpers and collaborators should also fall under the law - which would also apply to the new Polish law.
Poland's Senate Marshal Stanisław Karczewski replied that his country wanted to enter into a dialogue with Israel and explain its intentions and goals with regard to the new law.
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