Wiesenthal Center: Poland Should Rescind Law Criminalizing Holocaust Research, Not Merely Drop Penalties

Wiesenthal Center: Poland Should Rescind Law Criminalizing Holocaust Research, Not Merely Drop Penalties

June 27, 2018 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center views this morning's decision by the Polish Sejm (Parliament) to drop penalties that would have criminalized Holocaust survivors and researchers investigating Polish anti-Semitism during the Nazi era as not going far enough and is instead calling for the removal of the law entirely.

“The Wiesenthal Center urges the Polish government to rescind a law that never should have been introduced in the first place. It only succeeded in creating a global outcry against a heavy handed attempt to rewrite the history of the Nazi Shoah and the well-documented virulent anti-Semitism that existed in Poland before during and after WWII,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda for the Wiesenthal Center.

Mark Weitzman, the SWC’s Director of Government Affairs who has met with high-level Polish government figures and who played a significant role in coordinating US and international opposition to the law commented that “this action by Poland’s government is a potentially significant first move in preserving the historical record of the Holocaust in Poland as well as the right to publish and speak freely about that record”.  Weitzman pointed out that “Poland’s rightful concerns about the use of the inaccurate term Polish death camps’ which was the original excuse for the law were rendered meaningless when the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance last June condemned use of the phrase.” Weitzman added that “to be truly meaningful this action must be accompanied by an equal high level campaign against the wave of anti-Semitism spawned by the introduction of the law that threatens Poland’s tiny Jewish community as well researchers and experts internationally.” Weitzman is is a past Chair of Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

 “Our Center has always recognized and honored the memory of tens of thousands of Poles who aided Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, but has also taught about the horrific level of Jew-hatred in Poland that often went beyond rhetoric to violence and murder,” Cooper and Weitzman concluded.

For more information, please contact the Center's Communications Department, 310-553-9036. Join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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