WASHINGTON, DC, February 1, 2018 - NCSEJ is alarmed by the passage of Holocaust Legislation in the Polish Senate, and urges President of Poland Andrzej Duda to reject and disavow this legislation.
The legislation criminalizes claims of Poles' complicity in Nazi crimes with a prison sentence of up to three years. The legislation is a flagrant attempt at historical revisionism.
The legislation passed the lower house of the Polish Parliament on Friday, January 26, one day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The bill was then passed on to the Senate, which adopted it in turn on Wednesday. For the bill to be enacted, President Duda must sign it into law.
NCSEJ is disappointed that the Senate and Polish government have so far ignored universal opposition to the legislation from national and international Jewish organizations, the Government of Israel, and several other foreign governments. In a statement on Sunday, NCSEJ called on the Polish government to rescind the legislation.
While NCSEJ had been hopeful that direct, high-level dialogue between the Polish and Israeli governments would lead to a positive resolution of this issue, the Polish government has clearly failed to reflect thoroughly on this bill’s anti-democratic nature.
Poland’s adoption of this law would be fraught with consequences for the Jewish community and democratic society, as exhibited by the egregious and indefensible comments of TV host Marcin Wolski and author Rafal Ziemkiewicz on the Polish television network TVP. A report emerged yesterday that Wolski mockingly said that Nazi death camps should instead be called "Jewish death camps," while Ziemkiewicz asserted that Jews were at fault for the Holocaust.
NCSEJ maintains the phrase "Polish death camps" is inappropriate and inaccurate. NCSEJ Chairman Daniel Rubin said, "We recognize the suffering of the Polish people during the Nazi occupation. However, it remains an outrage that this dangerous legislation, which goes far beyond the issue of death camp terminology, was introduced and has advanced through the upper house of the Polish Parliament."