Poland strikes to ban references to Nazi-era 'Polish demise camps'

29 January, 2018, 05:48 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
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"We will not tolerate distorting the truth, rewriting history or denying the Holocaust", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of the Israeli cabinet meeting on Sunday.

"I utterly condemn the new Polish law which tries to deny Polish complicity in the Holocaust".

"One can not change history and the Holocaust can not be denied", said Netanyahu in a statement. "The [deputy] Polish ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry this morning and heard the same exact things".

The lower house of the Polish parliament's bill prescribes prison time for referring to "Polish death camps" and criminalizes the mention of Polish complicity. It also expressed its concern over the timing of the bill, which was passed on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and said it expects the draft to be amended before final approval.

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The Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv responded, saying Lapid's "unsupportable claims show how badly Holocaust education is needed, even here in Israel", and the legislation was intended "not to "whitewash" the past, but to protect the truth against such slander".

"Our ambassador in Warsaw, at my instruction, spoke with the prime minister of Poland during last night's ceremony commemorating the Holocaust at Auschwitz, and emphasized these positions of ours", he said, referring to a service to mark the 73rd anniversary of the death camp's liberation.

Holocaust survivors interviewed in Israel's best-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, gave first-hand accounts of how Poles refused them help or turned them over to German authorities.

However, the willingness of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party to budge on such an emotional issue appears limited.

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"The Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the entire world must ensure that the Holocaust is recognized for its horrors and atrocities", Rivlin said.

Poland hosted pre-war Europe's largest Jewish population and there were thousands of reported incidents in which Jews were betrayed by non-Jewish Poles - including former neighbors and friends - and where local populations took part in Nazi-led actions to kill Jews. Historians, including some from the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum, joined him in opposing it. The statement is true only in that there were Nazi death camps on Polish soil.

A woman holds her hand on a plain metal plaque during a wreath-laying ceremony on occasion of the global Holocaust remembrance day in the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald near Weimar, Germany, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

"Those who see themselves as defenders of Poland's good name are often quick to point out that in Poland there was no Quisling regime comparable to that which existed in other countries occupied by Germany - and that the Polish underground fought the Germans tooth and nail", Weinbaum wrote. "We've had enough of Poland and Poles being blamed for German crimes". "There were Polish death camps and no law can ever change that", Lapid tweeted on Saturday afternoon.

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