Polish Holocaust law come into effect
The new law carries prison sentences of up to three years for anyone stating that the Polish were duplicitous in some war crimes committed by the Nazis.
However, other countries view this measure as part of a larger effort by the vehemently nationalist government to manipulate history so that the country is not associated with war crimes. Polish officials said that the law, “…will only punish those who publicly and against the facts accuse the Polish nation as a whole for crimes committed by the Germans.”
Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the legislation last month but also submitted it to his country’s Constitutional Court for a review of its legality. While it is under review, no criminal charges are expected to be brought, but investigators are already looking for cases to prosecute if and when it is cleared.
In response, the USA has issued a warning that the new law could prevent free and open discussion, as well as academic and educational research. The US and Israel have stated that Poland is getting close to Holocaust denial. There could also be consequences for Poland’s strategic relationships with both America and Israel.
To try to allay these concerns, the Polish Foreign Ministry's Undersecretary of State, Marek Magierowski, has been sent to Washington to meet with US government officials, lawmakers and Jewish groups. Magierowski commented that, "Poland would never whitewash its history that some Poles did commit ignoble acts during World War II." He added that media reporting and foreign politicians had brutally misinterpreted the law and its intent.
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