A Holocaust survivor shows his tattoo.
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
Israel's Holocaust remembrance center Yad Vashem said on Thursday that it was "most unfortunate" that the Polish parliament decided to pass a controversial piece of legislation which criminalizes suggestions of any complicity by Poland in the Holocaust.
"This law is liable to blur historical truths due to limitations it places on expressions regarding the complicity of segments of the Polish population in crimes against Jews committed by its own people, either directly or indirectly, on Polish soil during the Holocaust," Yad Vashem said in a statement.
Yad Vashem reiterated that the term "Polish death camps" is erroneous and that the concentration and extermination camps were built and operated by the Germans in Nazi-occupied Poland.
It said, however, that "the correct way to combat these historical misrepresentations is not by criminalizing these statements but by reinforcing educational activities. However, the law passed last night in the Polish Senate jeopardizes the free and open discussion of the part of the Polish people in the persecution of the Jews at the time."
"Yad Vashem will continue to support research aimed at exposing the complex truth of Polish-Jewish relations during the Holocaust and promoting educational and commemorative activities in this spirit," the Holocaust remembrance center added.
Israeli politicians have accused Polish legislators of attempting to rewrite history and stifle speech with the new bill.