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Poland’s Senate approved a ban of the phrase «Polish death camp»

In the night of Thursday, February 1, the Senate (upper house of Parliament) of Poland adopted a law on criminal liability for propaganda of the ideology of Ukrainian nationalists, the denial of the Volyn massacre and allegations of complicity of poles with the Nazis during the Second world war.

We are talking about amendments to the law on the Institute of national memory, according to which, in particular, a man publicly accusing Poland for crimes committed during the Holocaust, the complicity of Nazi Germany, war crimes or crimes against humanity can be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three years.

The law prohibits the use of the phrase «Polish death camp» when describing the concentration camps that existed on the territory of occupied Poland. Punishment will be subjected to those who try «to consciously downplay the responsibility of the real perpetrators of these crimes».

This law caused a mixed reaction in Israel. For several days prior to the approval of the law by the Senate of Poland, its content was discussed by the Israeli and Polish politicians. After approval by the Senate, the law must be approved by the President of Poland.

The adoption of this law provoked an angry reaction from many Israeli politicians, including the Prime Minister and the President.

The Israeli historian Aron Schneier, fellow, National Institute of memory of victims of Nazism and heroes of resistance «Yad Vashem», commented published the following comment: «To dispute about the affiliation and the name of the camps that were in Poland during the German occupation. Regardless of the location: whether in Western Europe, the occupied territory of the USSR concentration camps and death camps were German. If anything, the Nazi, in Transnistria – Romanian, in Petrozavodsk and in Finland Finnish. Were Hungarian in Hungary. And there was not Polish, Latvian, Ukrainian, Russian concentration camps and death camps in German-occupied territory. The camps were only on the respective captured by the Germans-the Germany of the States.» «No one denies the participation of local collaborators and inhabitants of some of the occupied countries committed the massacres and crimes against the Jews. However, we must be precise in the definitions. And would-be politicians, not knowing the history, facts, speculate, and provoke an absurd political debate, leading to misunderstandings, disputes, conflicts at the international level. «Careful» right to be Israeli politicians,» wrote Aaron Schneier.

In an interview with A. Schneier explained that the poles could be among the guards in the camp, but there was no Polish security service of the Nazi concentration camps. He also noted that for the vast majority of poles from September 1939 until the end of the war in 1945, the Germans remained enemies, and the German authorities did not trust the Polish police.

At the same time, the leadership of «Yad Vashem», like most Israeli politicians condemned the adoption by Poland of amendments to the law on the Institute of national remembrance.

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Poland’s Senate approved a ban of the phrase «Polish death camp» 01.02.2018

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