'Polish law' comes to the Knesset

Polish ambassador to Israel participates in special Knesset discussion on Holocaust denial, says law will not be enforced yet.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

MK Avraham Negosa
MK Avraham Negosa
Hiller Meir/GPO

The Knesset Committee on Immigration and Diaspora Affairs held a discussion on "The challenges facing the preservation of the historical memory of World War II" Monday.

The meeting was held at the request of MKs Yoel Razbuzov, Oded Forer and Tali Pluskov, and was attended by Polish Ambassador to Israel Jacek Chodorowicz and representatives of the Russian embassy in Israel.

The discussion dealt with controversial pieces of legislation currently being promoted in Poland over the memory of the Holocaust.

The law, accepted by Polish parliament and signed by the President Andrzej Duda, has two parts. The first one outlaws the phrase “Polish death camps,” a phrase that hides the fact that the camps were built by Germans on Polish soil. The second part, however, makes it a crime to suggest that the Polish nation was complicit in the Holocaust or in other atrocities committed by Nazi Germany - and that is where the controversy rages, because an estimated 200,000 Jews were killed by Poles.

"In light of the growing anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in Europe, as well as the ongoing damage to sites dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and Holocaust victims, we are holding this important discussion," said committee chairman MK Avraham Negosa.

"It is important to prevent damage to the memory of the Holocaust and those who were murdered, and to preserve the memory of the Holocaust in the education system in Israel and around the world," he added. "And it is important to note the Red Army's contribution to the victory over the Nazi beast and the contribution of the Allies to this cause."

MK Yoel Razbuzov said that it is impossible to ignore recent actions taken by the Polish legislature. We will not be silent and we will not remain silent in light of what is happening in Poland. The state changes historical facts and allows the desecration of tombstones of soldiers of the Red Army. History has no versions. We will not allow harm to the memory of Holocaust victims and war victims, and we demand immediate intervention by the countries of the world. The tragic lesson can not be forgotten. The lives of tens of millions of people were taken and we must learn from that."

Polish Ambassador to Israel Jacek Chodorowicz said in response that a Polish law criminalizing the attribution of "responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich" had been frozen due to Israeli anger over the move.

"There is a commitment by the Ministry of Justice in Poland that the new law will not be enforced until all the components of the new law are thoroughly examined, including through a discussion with the Israeli representatives. We are now in the middle of the storm, but there is agreement that we will talk more quietly and calmly on the subject and on all the clauses of the law that have been criticized in Israel," the ambassador said.

At the end of the discussion, Committee Chairman MK Negosa called on the Polish government to immediately cancel the law.

In addition, the committee called upon the Foreign Ministry to take significant steps against any attempt to deny the memory of the Holocaust and to work with the various countries to establish an international force to deal with Holocaust denial, as well as vandalism against monuments to the victims and fallen of World War 2 and the Allied soldiers who fell during the war.

The committee also called for a program to expand and deepen the awareness among Israeli and international students about the roles played by various countries during the Second World War.