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The Latest: Research work to be 'exempt' from Polish bill

February 6, 2018
Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on Poland's proposed legislation to limit Holocaust speech (all times local):

3 p.m.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda says that artistic and historical research work will be exempted from a disputed bill that penalizes blaming Poland for complicity in Nazi Germany's crimes.

Duda said Tuesday he will sign into law controversial proposals to impose prison sentences on anyone who "publicly and against the facts" accuses the Polish people of crimes committed by Nazi Germany during World War II. However, he also said that a top Polish court will evaluate the wording of the proposals to make room for possible amendments.

Duda said during a visit to Israel last year he was made aware of expectations that the legislation should not block artistic or historical work on the Holocaust.

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2:30 p.m.

Israel says it will continue to communicate with Poland despite its reservations over a controversial Polish proposal to outlaw blaming Poland for crimes committed during the Holocaust.

Israel's Foreign Ministry says Tuesday it hopes President Andrzej Duda's decision to ask the country's constitutional court to evaluate the bill will allow both sides to "agree on changes and corrections."

Duda said Tuesday he will sign the law though he would also ask the Constitutional Tribunal to suggest possible amendments.

Israel has been outraged by the law, fearing it will enable Poland to whitewash the role of Poles who killed or denounced Jews to Germans during World War II. The United States also strongly opposed the legislation, saying it could hurt Poland's strategic relations with Israel and the U.S.

The foreign ministry says both countries have "a joint responsibility to research and preserve the history of the Holocaust."

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2:10 p.m.

A leading figure in the Jewish American community has criticized Poland's handling of its new Holocaust law.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, says Poland has made an "issue" out of its people's actions during the Holocaust and is denying the truth.

He says that while Poles who helped save Jews during the Holocaust should be recognized, Poland should also acknowledge that many Poles were complicit in aiding the Nazis.

"It is not credible to engage in the denial," Hoenlein said Tuesday. He says it would be better if Poland said "there was evil done. We recognize it."

Poland's President Andrzej Duda said Tuesday he will sign into law a controversial proposal to impose prison terms for statements blaming Poland for World War II crimes committed by Nazi Germany. The proposal has angered Israel and prompted criticism from the United States.

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1:30 p.m.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda had defended a controversial law that penalizes blaming Poles as a nation for complicity in Nazi Germany's crimes, saying the law will not block Holocaust survivors and witnesses from talking about crimes committed by individual Poles.

Duda confirmed Tuesday he will sign into law a proposal to impose prison terms for statements blaming Poland for World War II crimes committed by Nazi Germany. The proposal has angered Israel, which says it will stifle discussion about the Holocaust and enable Poland to whitewash the role of Poles who killed or denounced Jews to Germans during the German occupation of Poland during WWII.

In a speech, Duda said "we do not deny that there were cases of huge wickedness" in which Poles denounced Jews.

But he said the point of the law is to prevent Poles and Poland from being wrongly accused of institutionalized participation in the Holocaust. He said: "No, there was no systemic way in which Poles took part in it."

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12 noon

Poland's president says he will sign into law a controversial proposal to outlaw blaming Poland for crimes committed during the Holocaust.

But in an unusual move, President Andrzej Duda also said Tuesday he will ask the country's constitutional court to evaluate the bill and suggest possible amendments.

The measure, passed by Polish lawmakers, will impose prison terms of up to three years for statements blaming Poles as a nation for World War II crimes committed by Nazi Germany.

It has caused a diplomatic crisis with Israel, which fears it will enable Poland to whitewash the role of Poles who killed or denounced Jews to Germans during the German occupation of Poland during World War II. The United States also strongly opposes the legislation, saying it could hurt Poland's strategic relations with Israel and the U.S.

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9:40 a.m.

The office of Polish President Andrzej Duda says the leader will on Tuesday announce his decision on whether to sign legislation penalizing certain statements about the Holocaust.

The legislation proposed by Poland's conservative ruling party has sparked a bitter dispute with Israel, which says it will infringe on free speech about the Holocaust. The United States also strongly opposes the legislation, saying it could hurt Poland's strategic relations with Israel and the U.S.

The bill penalizes blaming Poles as a nation for crimes committed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It needs Duda's signature to become law. He has spoken in its favor.

Duda can also choose to send the bill back to parliament or seek an opinion on it from the Constitutional Tribunal.

 
 

 

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