Poland’s President Says He Will Sign Controversial Holocaust Bill

Polish President Andrzej Duda says he will sign the country’s controversial Holocaust bill, but plans to send the bill to the constitutional tribunal for review.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda gives a press conference on February 6, 2018 in Warsaw to announces that he will sign into law a controversial Holocaust bill which has sparked tensions with Israel, the US and Ukraine. (Credit: JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda gives a press conference on February 6, 2018 in Warsaw to announces that he will sign into law a controversial Holocaust bill which has sparked tensions with Israel, the US and Ukraine. (Credit: JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The law would make it illegal to accuse the nation of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust.

It would also ban the use of terms such as “Polish death camps” in relation to camps such as Auschwitz, which were located in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Violations will be punished by a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years.

While Duda said he would sign the bill, it was unclear when he is planning to do so and when it will become enshrined in law.

“We have the right to be judged according to facts and accordingly, as the President of the Polish Republic, I have taken the following decision. After analyzing the situation and the bill, I have decided that I will sign it. I am signing this bill and, accordingly, Article 55a will come into force,” Duda said in a televised statement in Warsaw.

Duda added that he was aware of the “sensitivities” around this bill, including a “fear that it will not be possible to tell the truth — that it will gag the survivors.”

The decision is likely to anger Israel, which has been vociferous in the criticism of the bill, accusing Poland of attempting to rewrite history.

While there is a consensus among historians that certain Polish individuals and groups did collaborate with the Nazi occupiers, recent Polish governments have sought to challenge that narrative.

At least three million Polish Jews and 1.9 million non-Jewish citizens were killed during the Holocaust, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust overall.