Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Polish death camp law 'is denial of history'

Pope urges Europe to be more active in fighting anti-Semitism Polish death camp law 'is denial of history'
Sherri Watson | 28 January, 2018, 23:55

The country has long objected to the use of phrases like "Polish death camps", which suggest the Polish state in some way shared responsibility for camps such as Auschwitz.

Netanyahu on Saturday night said in a statement: "The law is baseless; I strongly oppose it. One can not change history and the Holocaust can not be denied", he said.

Kozłowski's summoning came as Israeli politicians expressed outrage over the bill, passed on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which prohibits the mention of "Polish death camps" or any insinuation that Poland played a supporting role in the atrocities committed by the Nazis during their attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe during the Second World War.

"It is an historic fact that many Poles helped the murder of Jews, informed on, turned in and themselves murdered many Jews during the Holocaust and after it", Bennett stated.

The lower house of the Polish parliament on Friday passed the bill, which prescribes prison time for using phrases such as "Polish death camps" to refer to the killing sites Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during World War II.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the trust, said: "On Holocaust Memorial Day we honour the survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and challenge ourselves to learn important lessons from their experiences in order to create a safer, better future".

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also weighed in on the issue, saying that "one cannot fake history, one cannot rewrite it, one cannot hide the truth". Every crime, every offense, must be condemned.

Late on Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Poland of seeking to deny history with the bill, sentiments he repeated at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

It is thought that nearly 1.1 million people were murdered, including Jews and Poles, at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi Germany.

Member of Knesset (MK) Yair Lapid got into a twitter battle with the Polish embassy in Israel after he posted his strong condemnation of the bill, which he charged "tries to deny Polish complicity in the Holocaust". Millions of its citizens were killed, including three million Polish Jews in the Holocaust. "Jews, Poles, and all victims should be guardians of the memory of all who were murdered by German Nazis".

Defending last year's statement and its omission of Jews, current White House communications director said that "despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group, and we took into account all of those who suffered".

He acknowledged that describing the Nazi death camps as "Polish" was misleading.

Elsewhere, the American president, Donald Trump, also commemorated the day, and said "Our Nation [the United States] is indebted to the Holocaust's survivors" and that the country "will confront anti-Semitism".