US 'Disappointed' by Polish President's Authorization of Holocaust Bill

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Polish President Andrzej Duda signed Poland's controversial new Holocaust bill late Tuesday ahead of it being assessed by the country's Constitutional Tribunal.

Andrzej Duda said in a televised address the legislation would safeguard Poland's global reputation, but Israel called for amendments, saying the two countries had a "joint responsibility" to preserve the memory of the Holocaust. "We can not guarantee freedom of speech for Ukrainian researchers on Polish territory or even safety of their stay", reads a statement by the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance published on its official website.

More than three million of Poland's 3.2 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of the Jews killed in the Holocaust.

The Polish foreign ministry and other officials have been combatting its use, calling it a historic falsehood and saying it places blame on Poland.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it an "attempt to rewrite history." Enactment of this law adversely affects freedom of speech and academic inquiry."The United States reaffirms that terms like "Polish death camps" are painful and misleading".

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On Tuesday, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, argued that Poland's decision to pursue the law was a denial of facts. The Polish government chose to avoid the truth.

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.

In a speech on Tuesday, Duda used less provocative rhetoric.

The President's office says the majority of the legislation will take effect 14 days after it appears at the country's Journal of Laws - which could happen as early as Wednesday.

While there is a consensus among historians that certain Polish individuals and groups did collaborate with the Nazi occupiers, recent Polish governments have sought to challenge that narrative.

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Throughout years of Nazi occupation between 1939 and 1945, a number of Polish underground movements resisted the Nazis.

The bill first was proposed about two years ago, soon after Law and Justice took power in 2015, but hadn't been an issue of public debate recently.

More Poles have been honoured by Israel for saving the lives of Jews during the war than any other nation.

The debate about the bill has also triggered an intense focus on the very questions of complicity that nationalist Poles were hoping to sweep aside once and for all.

Chęciński said many viewers were based in the US, Asia, and Central and South America.

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"We have a right to our historical truth", he added.

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