Polish president criticises timing of anti-defamation law
PR dla Zagranicy
President Andrzej Duda has said “it was wrong” that a contested law which criminalises blaming Poland for Nazi German atrocities was adopted on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Andrzej DudaPhoto: prezydent.pl
Despite pressure from the United States, Duda last month signed into force a law which could impose a jail term on anyone who accuses Poland of being complicit in Nazi German crimes. The move triggered anger in Israel.
Duda’s move came after a warning by the United States, of which Poland is a staunch ally, that the legislation could damage Warsaw's relations with America as well as with Israel.
In an interview for Dziennik Gazeta Prawna published on Monday, Duda said: "It was wrong that the... [new law] was adopted [by Polish deputies] on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day [January 27] and during an election campaign in Israel."
Duda added, however: "It is only natural that we demand respect for historical truth, including honest terminology.”
I did not consider veto: president
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.
Duda was cited by Dziennik Gazeta Prawna as saying that he did not consider vetoing the anti-defamation law.
"It is not a clamour that decides whether or not given legislation is signed,” he added.