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Israel and Poland to start dialogue on Holocaust law

Israel and Poland to start dialogue on Holocaust law

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the Polish bill "baseless", said "history can not be rewritten", and that he expects the Polish lawmakers to amend the law.

"It is a historical fact that many Poles helped in the murder Jews, by informing on them, turning them in, and murdering Jews themselves during and after the Holocaust", Minister Bennett said Monday morning.

Trump's choice to appear instead at a World War II monument to a later non-Jewish rebellion against the German occupiers for a July speech ignited a debate on Poland's memory of the Holocaust and recent rightward drift.

Israel's foreign ministry said the deputy Polish ambassador to Israel had been summoned for a clarification.

Pence also retweeted the White House's official statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday, which marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. It was conceived in Germany but hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered without ever meeting a German soldier.

When the country was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II, it lost 6 million of its citizens - including three million Jews in the Holocaust. Under the new legislation, anyone who publicly attributes blame for the crimes committed by the Nazis to Poles or the Polish state would be liable for penalties.

Poles have long objected to phrases such as "Polish death camps", which suggest Poland was responsible for the genocide.

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"We have had enough of accusing Poland and Poles of German atrocities", according to a post on her Twitter account on Sunday. "Having spent decades in the field of education, I deeply believe that this must be changed through a campaign of education, not criminalization". We live with the consequences every day in our collective memory.

Poland's foreign ministry said the provisions of the new act would not "limit freedom of research, discussions on history or artistic activity".

In a sign of the sensitivities surrounding the topic, Yair Lapid, the son of a Holocaust survivor and head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, became embroiled in a heated row on Twitter with the Polish embassy in Israel after he tweeted that the law "tries to deny Polish complicity in the Holocaust".

But the immediate concern in Israel is that the law is also an effort to whitewash some of the darker parts of Poland's wartime experience, in which a small minority of Poles either outed Jews trying to hide from the Germans, extorted money from them, or killed Jews themselves.

Morawiecki leads a government run by the Law & Justice party, which since winning a 2015 election has vowed to take the country away from some of the European Union's liberal, multicultural values and return the country to its traditional Catholic roots.

The 27th of January marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by Soviet troops in 1945, and since 2005 it is a United Nations designated International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

"There is no doubt that the term "Polish death camps" is a historical misrepresentation," the Yad Vashem memorial said.


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