Tuesday 24 April 2018

Poland's Nazi complicity bill countered in Israel

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: AP
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: AP

Michael Arnold

Poland's Senate approved a bill outlawing public allegations of its complicity in ­Holocaust-era crimes, sparking counter-legislation in Israel, where it's seen as Holocaust denial.

The bill passed the upper chamber of Poland's parliament, after it was approved in the lower house on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day last week.

A phone call between ­Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ­Netanyahu and his Polish ­counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, failed to derail the bill, which would impose up to three years in jail or fines for suggesting Poles helped the Nazis murder almost all of the country's Jews during World War II.

Israel's Foreign Ministry said yesterday it "views with utmost gravity any attempt to challenge historical truth. No law will change the facts".

Poles say they're unfairly held complicit in Nazi war crimes, but many Holocaust scholars have concluded that some Poles helped the Nazis kill Jews on their territory.

Before the Polish Senate vote, Israeli legislators drew up a draft amendment defining any attempt to deny or ­minimise the crimes of Nazi collaborators as Holocaust denial, which carries a five-year jail term.

Irish Independent

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