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Poland's president says he will sign controversial Holocaust bill

Polish President Andrzej Duda says he will sign the country's controversial Holocaust bill, but plans to send the bil...

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 11:32 AM
Updated: Feb 6, 2018 11:32 AM

Polish President Andrzej Duda says he will sign the country's controversial Holocaust bill, but plans to send the bill to the constitutional tribunal for review.

The law would make it illegal to accuse the nation of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust.

It would also ban the use of terms such as "Polish death camps" in relation to camps such as Auschwitz, which were located in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Violations will be punished by a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years.

While Duda said he would sign the bill, it was unclear when he is planning to do so and when it will become enshrined in law.

"We have the right to be judged according to facts and accordingly, as the President of the Polish Republic, I have taken the following decision. After analyzing the situation and the bill, I have decided that I will sign it. I am signing this bill and, accordingly, Article 55a will come into force," Duda said in a televised statement in Warsaw.

Duda added that he was aware of the "sensitivities" around this bill, including a "fear that it will not be possible to tell the truth -- that it will gag the survivors."

The decision is likely to anger Israel, which has been vociferous in the criticism of the bill, accusing Poland of attempting to rewrite history.

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it would continue to discuss the bill with Poland.

"We hope that within allotted time until the court's deliberations are concluded, we will manage to agree on changes and corrections," the spokesperson said.

"Israel and Poland hold a joint responsibility to research and preserve the History of the Holocaust."

While there is a consensus among historians that certain Polish individuals and groups did collaborate with the Nazi occupiers, recent Polish governments have sought to challenge that narrative.

At least three million Polish Jews and 1.9 million non-Jewish citizens were killed during the Holocaust, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust overall.

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