Israel, Poland in row over Holocaust bill

Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Poland on Saturday of denying history with a bill outlawing any reference to the Nazi death camps in the country as being Polish. “The law is baseless.
I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied,” the premier said in a statement. As a diplomatic row brewed on the day the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Poland´s charge d´affaires to Israel has been summoned to the foreign ministry on Sunday, the ministry said. A foreign ministry official told AFP the Polish bill was “an attempt to rewrite and falsify history, something that the Jewish people and Israel will never accept”. Poland´s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki responded via Twitter late Saturday saying: “ Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a Polish name, and Arbeit Macht Frei is not a Polish phrase” in reference to the words posted on the Nazi camp´s infamous wrought-iron gate that mean “Work makes you free” in German. “Auschwitz is the most bitter lesson on how evil ideologies can lead to hell on earth. Jews, Poles, and all victims should be guardians of the memory of all who were murdered by German Nazis.” Earlier on Saturday he marked the 73 anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on site at the former Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, southern Poland.
Poland´s rightwing-dominated parliament on Friday adopted legislation that sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone who refers to Nazi German death camps as being Polish. The measure is intended to apply to both Polish citizens and foreigners. It is expected to easily pass in the Senate before being signed by the president.—AFP

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