Feb 1, 2018

Polish Senate votes to outlaw claims Poles were complicit with Nazis

The Auschwitz main gate. Photo: Omar Marques / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

A new bill passed by Poland's Senate on Thursday would make it illegal to refer to concentration camps like Auschwitz, which was in Nazi-occupied Poland, as "Polish death camps," or to "accuse Poles of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany." CNN reports.

Why it matters: The bill is fiercely opposed by Israel, and the World Holocaust Remembrance Center has said it ignores "historical truths regarding the assistance the Germans received from the Polish population during the Holocaust."

  • The legislation now needs to be signed by President Andrzej Duda, who "previously expressed his support."
  • Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, has criticized the bill: "One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied."
  • Barack Obama used the phrase "Polish death camps" in 2012, sparking this reaction from Donald Tusk, Poland's then-Prime Minister and the current European Council President, per CNN: "When someone says 'Polish death camps,' it is as if there were no Nazis, no German responsibility, as if there was no Hitler. That is why our Polish sensitivity in these situations is so much more than just simply a feeling of national pride."

Axios contributor Barak Ravid reports that "the option of recalling the Israeli ambassador from Warsaw is on the table but no final decision at the moment."

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