Polish President Andrzej Duda.
(photo credit: AGENCJA GAZETA/DAWID ZUCHOWICZ VIA REUTERS)
The president of Poland visited the Jewish community center in Krakow in an effort to stave off a crisis with the Jewish community over a controversial new Holocaust law.
Andrzej Duda visited the center on Tuesday and met with Jewish leaders. He said of his government’s relations with the Jewish community, according to the Polish-language newspaper Gazeta Wyborca, “I would not call it a crisis, just a cry which I hope will be quickly resolved.”
The law, which takes effect at the end of the month, criminalizes claims that the Polish nation or state was responsible for Nazi crimes. Violators could face up to three years in prison, though government officials say prosecution under the law is unlikely.
The law, an amendment to the National Institute on Remembrance, “did not raise my doubts as a lawyer,” Duda said at the JCC. “But there have been dramatic interpretations. There were people among Poles who denounced Jews among Poles, but not the entire Polish nation. All simplifications are very painful.”
Duda added that he sent the law to the Constitutional Tribunal and “I hope that it will soon speak on this subject, which will help settle the dispute.”
He met with leaders of the Krakow Jewish community, including Tadeusz Jakubowicz; Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland; and Jonathan Ornstein, the JCC’s director.