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Polish President Will Sign Holocaust Law

06 February, 2018

Polish President Andrzej Duda said Tuesday he will sign a law that would make it a crime to suggest Poles share the blame for Nazi crimes during the Holocaust.

The law orders jail time or fines on anyone calling the Nazi murder of Jews during World War II a "Polish crime," or Nazi death camps "Polish death camps." Some of the worst Nazi crimes were committed in Poland.

Duda said he will also ask Poland's constitutional court for an opinion on the law.

Duda had called Poland a victim of Nazi terror, saying six million Poles and three million Jews were murdered by the German. He agreed that some "wicked" Poles helped the Nazis, but others, including Poland's exiled wartime government, resisted Hitler's terror.

FILE - Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks at a news conference in Warsaw, Poland, Dec. 20, 2017.
FILE - Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks at a news conference in Warsaw, Poland, Dec. 20, 2017.

Israeli officials have voiced strong objections to the law, saying it is rewriting history.

Poland has canceled Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett's Wednesday visit this week because of his recent statement about the law.

"The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it," Bennett said Monday, adding that the government of Poland canceled the visit because he spoke of "the crime of its people. He also said he was "honored."

Bennett would have been the first senior Israeli official to meet with Polish officials since the controversy over the new law started last week.

Bennett said only a small number of Poles risked their lives to save Jews during the war.

I'm Susan Shand.

Susan Shand adapted this story based on VOA News report. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

holocaust n. the killing of millions of Jews and other people by the Nazis during World War II

wickedadj. morally bad

controversyn. strong disagreement about something among a large group of people