Warsaw, February 6: Poland’s President said on Tuesday he will sign into law a bill imposing jail terms for suggesting the country was complicit in the Holocaust, defying criticism from Israel, the United States and activists.
The measure imposes prison sentences of up to three years for mentioning the term "Polish death camps" and for suggesting "publicly and against the facts" that the Polish nation or state was complicit in Nazi Germany's crimes.
President Andrzej Duda also said he will ask the Constitutional Tribunal for clarifications about the bill. Those are likely to be issued after it goes into effect.
Poland’s right-wing government says the law is needed to protect the reputation of its citizens and make sure they are recognized as victims not perpetrators of Nazi aggression during World War Two.
Israel has said the law would curb free speech, criminalize basic historical facts and stop any discussion on the role that some Poles played in Nazi crimes. Activists say the passage of the bill has encouraged a rise in anti-Semitism.
More than three million of Poland’s 3.2 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of the Jews killed in the Holocaust. Jews from across the continent were sent to be killed at death camps built and operated by Germans in Poland, including Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor.
More than 6,700 Poles -- outnumbering any other nationality -- have been honored as "Righteous Among the Nations", a title given to non-Jews who stood up to the Nazis, by Jerusalem's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem.