Polish president to signal controversial Holocaust invoice…

Polish president to signal controversial Holocaust invoice…

Polish president to signal controversial Holocaust invoice…

It would have been the first meeting between the two sides since the passing of the controversial bill that outlaws attributing holocaust crimes to the Polish people.

But in an unusual move, President Andrzej Duda also said Tuesday he will ask the country's constitutional court to evaluate the bill and suggest possible amendments.

The measure, passed by Polish MPs, will impose prison terms of up to three years for statements blaming Poles as a nation for crimes committed by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

Israel's ambassador to Poland Anna Azari, however, told the Polish PAP news agency that Israel believes the bill could open the door to prosecuting Holocaust survivors for their testimony should it concern the involvement of individual Poles allegedly killing or giving up Jews to the Germans.

"We are also concerned about the repercussions this draft legislation, if enacted, could have on Poland's strategic interests and relationships", she said.

Other Israeli government officials said the bill amounted to Holocaust denialism.

The bill would set fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone who refers to Nazi German death camps as Polish. Some of the worst Nazi crimes were committed in Poland.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, says Poland has made an "issue" out of its people's actions during the Holocaust and is denying the truth.

The lower house of parliament approved the legislation on January 26, the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the Senate gave its approval on Thursday.

"There is not the slightest doubt as to who was responsible for the extermination camps, operated them and murdered millions of European Jews there: namely Germans", he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced the bill as a "distortion of the truth, the rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust".

Bennett said in the statement that "the decision by the Polish government has a role to play in Holocaust education, even if they intended it to achieve something else." noting that "I accepted an invitation to a dialogue based on truth".

Unfortunately, at a moment when most would wish cooler heads would prevail, a trip by the Israeli Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, has been cancelled after he strongly condemned the proposed law.

The prevailing view in Israel and among Holocaust scholars is that many Poles were willing to at least look the other way, if not actively collaborate, with the Nazis.

Thousands of Poles risked their lives to protect Jewish neighbours during the war. "The existence of certain collaborators does not change anything", Gabriel said.

"Unfortunately, it is not only the nationalists but also the whole Polish society which will have to pay the price", said Grabowski, who is also a member of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research in Warsaw.

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