Polish government freezes controversial Holocaust law

A close -up of photographs and negatives displayed in "Flashes of Memory - Photography during the Holocaust" in the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. A law prohibiting implicating Poland for crimes committed during the Holocaust was halted until Polish and Israeli government officials come up with an agreed-upon version. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI

Feb. 24 (UPI) — Amid pressure from Israel and rising tensions between the two states, Poland will freeze its new controversial Holocaust law.

The law, passed earlier this month, would prohibit implicating Poland for crimes committed during the Holocaust and prohibit using references such as “Polish death camps.” If found guilty of attributing the crimes of Nazi Germany to Poland, sentencing could include up to three years in prison.

Polish and Israeli government officials will soon meet to try and come up with an agreed-upon version of the law, which some say whitewashes Poland’s role in the Holocaust.

The law sparked condemnation from Israeli Holocaust survivors, who stormed the Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv to protest the law. The survivors, accompanied by younger Israelis, rallied outside the Polish compound and also surrounded one diplomat’s car.

Demonstrators held signs with messages like, “No law will erase history,” “The Polish law spits in the Israeli people’s face” and “I still have nightmares because of what the Poles did.”

Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who also serves as its chief prosecutor, defended the law, saying that only a handful of Poles cooperated with the Nazis.

“It is true that not all Poles behaved decently during German occupation. We also had a small criminal underclass, who were especially visible in small towns, but their guilt cannot be put on the nation as a whole,” Ziobro said, also adding that “tens of thousands of Poles are estimated to have lost their lives for hiding Jews.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here