Polish official in UK for talks with Jewish groups amid tensions over new law
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki is in London on Tuesday for talks with Jewish communities about Poland's new anti-defamation laws which angered Israel and the US, government spokeswoman Joanna Kopcińska told Polish Radio's IAR news agency.
Wikimedia Commons/Graeme Maclean.
According to Kopcińska, Cichocki is set to explain that the law does not limit freedom of speech, historical research or cultural or artistic endeavours.
Poland last month introduced new laws which could see jail terms of up to three years for anyone who accuses Poland of being complicit in Nazi German crimes. The move triggered anger in both Israel and the US.
In Poland, the new rules are seen as a way of fighting the use of the phrase “Polish death camps” in reference to Nazi German-run extermination camps located in occupied Poland during World War II.
Poles say the phrase, which has often been used by foreign media, distorts history and implies Poland's involvement in the Holocaust.
But critics have accused Poland of trying to whitewash and rewrite history.
Commentators have said that Israel is concerned the new law could mean penalties for anyone who criticises individual Poles' role in the Holocaust.
The new law reads:
While in the UK, Cichocki is also set to discuss educational initiatives, including excursions to Poland for Jewish youth, Kopcińska said. (vb/gs)