The controversial bill prohibiting allegations of Polish involvement in Nazi war crimes during World War II has been signed into law by Polish President Andrzej Duda despite outrage in Israel and criticism in Europe and the United States.
“This law is ill advised, you should not rewrite history, it’s never a very good idea,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview with BFM television, adding that the vote to push the measures through “should be condemned.”
Le Drian went on to note that the European Union is going to limit its respond to the law to “moral pressure” that will “be sufficient” in this case. He also expressed hope that the Poles will remove “political straightjacket imposed by nationalist factions” in the next election cycle.
The law that was enacted on Tuesday stipulates jail time of up to three years for the crime of suggesting that the Polish people were engaged in the Nazi crimes against humanity. The legislation also prohibits the use of terms like “Polish death camps,” as they could cast shadow on Polish state and Polish people by referencing to the country in the context of Third Reich’s atrocities.
The law has so far stirred up controversy in countries like Israel and the United States. While Israel’s Foreign Ministry has expressed hope that the legislation will be amended, politicians, including high ranking ones, accused Israelis of attempts to whitewash and distort history.
Several of the most infamous Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Treblinka, were located on the territory of modern-day Poland after the country was invaded the Third Reich in 1939. Some six million Jews died during WWII in the Holocaust, as part of Hitler’s personal “final solution” calling for the extermination of the Jewish people. The Nazis also killed millions of others they considered undesirable, including Slavs, labor unionists, Romani people and homosexuals.
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