Poland's Holocaust bill be signed into law

Polish President Duda with US President Donald Trump and Melania Trump in Warsaw

Jews from across the continent were sent to be killed at death camps built and operated by Germans in occupied Poland - home to Europe's biggest Jewish community at the time - including Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.

Violations will be punished by a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the right-wing Law & Justice party, called for Duda to sign the legislation. The law takes effect 14 days after it's officially published, but it wasn't immediately clear when that will be. The rest of the legislation will come into force within three months.

But in a move that appeared created to soften the impact of his decision, President Andrzej Duda said he would also ask Poland's constitutional court to evaluate the bill - leaving open the possibility it could be amended.

Prior to its signing, the measure faced criticism from the both the U.S. and Israel, which argued that it would suppress open discussions about the Holocaust.

Yesterday US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington was "disappointed" that President Duda had signed the controversial bill.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the government of Poland has cancelled the minister's scheduled visit to Warsaw this week after Bennett pledged to use the visit to "make it clear" that Polish complicity in the Holocaust was an historical fact that can not be erased. "We believe that open debate, scholarship, and education are the best means of countering misleading speech".

The bill has drawn a chorus of criticism from countries including Israel and the United States.

The Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (UINR) proposes, for security reasons of scientists, to continue the historical dialogue between Ukraine and Poland on Ukrainian territory, where there are no restrictions on assessments of the past, due to the adoption in Poland of the law on the Institute of National Remembrance, which foresees, in particular, punishment for "crimes of Ukrainian nationalists", the UINR's press service reported on Wednesday.

Responding to the news of Duda's decision, Israel's Foreign Ministry expressed hope that the constitutional review would prompt "changes and corrections".

"Israel and Poland hold a joint responsibility to research and preserve the history of the Holocaust", the Israeli government posted on Twitter.

According to figures from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Nazis, who invaded Poland in 1939, also killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians.

Poland is the location of several former concentration campus, including Auschwitz-Birkenau, where 1 million people - nearly all of them Jews - were systematically killed in World War II.

The bill imposes criminal proceedings for allegedly defaming Poland by assigning complicity to the country for Holocaust crimes committed on Polish soil.

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