New York, NY, February 1, 2018 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed profound disappointment in the vote by the Polish Senate criminalizing certain forms of speech concerning the Holocaust, and today called on President Andrzej Duda to not sign the bill into law. The legislation carries fines and a maximum three-year jail sentence for anyone – Poles or foreigners – who ascribe responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the Nazis.
Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director, issued the following statement:
We are deeply disappointed with the Polish Senate’s passage of this bill. Despite assurances from the Polish government, concerns about this bill have not been adequately addressed. We are calling on President Duda to refrain from signing it into law until concerns from Holocaust survivors and others are appropriately accounted for.
It is clear from this misguided attempt to silence certain forms of speech about the Holocaust that much work remains to be done in terms of Poland’s coming to grips with its history. There’s no doubt Poland was a victim of the Nazis and their brutal occupation, and any effort to confuse perpetrators with victims should be rejected. But not all Poles were innocent as the Jews were being slaughtered.
We understand and sympathize with Poland’s frustration at the use of the term “Polish Death Camps,” but this law goes well beyond that issue. It raises the possibility that anyone offering Holocaust survivor testimony about actions by individual Poles could be charged with a crime. This is unacceptable and could silence the voices of survivors and their families.
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.