President Duda signs amendment to Holocaust law. Israel pleased

TVN24 News in English


Polish Senate passed the amendment to the controversial Holocaust law on Wednesday. The legislation has been stripped of the provision that imposed jail sentences for suggestions of Poland's complicity in Nazi crimes. Earlier on, the lower house approved the changed law. During the Sejm session, Prime Minister Morawiecki said: "those who say that Poland may be responsible for the crimes of World War Two deserve jail terms. But we operate in an international context and we take that into account".

76 senators voted in favour of the legislation, 1 was against and 1 abstained. Earlier on, the Senate dismissed the motion by the minority to reject the new law.

The amendment put forward Wednesday morning in the Sejm as government's initiative was proceeded over in urgent mode. Right before noon, the lower house passed the bill and soon after the Senate took over. Firstly, the Human Rights Committee gave the green light, and than the whole chamber gathered. At the end of the debate, opposition senators left the room to manifest their protest against curbing the discussion.

The new law removes Article 55a that imposed jail sentences for suggestions of Poland's complicity in Nazi crimes, and Article 55b stating that the penal provisions apply to citizens of Poland and of other countries - "regardless of the binding law in the country where such crime occurs".

Improvement in relations?

In the justification it was emphasised that "bearing in mind the fundamental goal of the law, a more effective method of protecting Poland's good name lies in using the civil law". "I do believe that the changed bill on the National Remembrance Institute will improve relation between Poland and Israel; thanks to it, on an unprecedented scale, we've raised awareness regarding the Polish view on history," said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at a debate in the Senate.

This is the second amendment to the bill adopted this year. The previous one from January, put forward by the ministry of justice, was aimed primarily at fighting using expressions like "Polish death camps and evoked strong protests on Israel and the USA part. It was in this bill where the provisions removed today were initially included.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24, PAP