Poland president 'to sign Holocaust bill'

Polish President Andrzej Duda announces his decision to sign legislation penalizing certain statements about the Holocaust in Warsaw on Tuesday. Duda said he will also ask Poland's constitutional court to make a final ruling on the disputed Holocaust

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

The bill proposed by Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice Party calls for fines and prison sentences of up to three years for purposely trying to attribute the crimes Nazi Germany carried out during the almost six-year occupation to the Polish nation as a whole.

This law is a reaction to the use of the term "Polish death camps", a reference to the Nazi-concentration camps in occupied Poland, which were the main sites of the holocaust.

Of the 3.2 million Jews who lived in Poland before World War II, over three million were killed under the Nazi regime.

Andrzej Duda said in a televised address the legislation would safeguard Poland's global reputation, but Israel called for amendments, saying the two countries had a "joint responsibility" to preserve the memory of the Holocaust.

Poland's ruling Law and Justice party vowed to push through a law regulating public statements about the country's Holocaust experience soon after it came to power in 2015.

After Bennett's statement, the government spokeswoman said the Polish side is "convinced" that soon the two sides will agree on a date to meet.

The new law would outlaw publicly and falsely attributing the crimes of Nazi Germany to the Polish nation.

"Israel and Poland have a common responsibility to investigate and preserve the history of the Holocaust".

Poland Israel Holocaust Law

Israel's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it would continue to communicate with Poland despite its reservations about the law.

In a gesture to Israel, Mr Duda said he would send it to the Constitutional Tribunal to check whether its regulations comply with the Polish constitution. After analyzing the situation and the bill, I have decided that I will sign it.

The bill would set fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone who refers to Nazi German death camps as Polish.

While "Polish" is nearly always used as a geographic description in that context, Poles feel the phrase cruelly portrays their country as having been in charge of the Nazi-run camps, while in fact Poles made up the largest group of victims after Jews.

It would make it a crime to accuse the Polish state of complicity in the Holocaust.

"I know the Jewish people and acknowledge that there were Polish criminals who murdered Jews during the Holocaust", he said.

Thousands of Poles risked their lives to protect Jewish neighbours during the war. In a statement released yesterday, Mr Bennett said he "felt honoured" by the cancellation for what he sees is a rewriting of the past.

"Although he said, "We do not deny that there were cases of huge wickedness", especially regarding the denunciation of Jews by Polish citizens", he was emphatic in stating: "No, there was no systematic way in which Poles took part" in the Holocaust.

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