New York, NY, June 27, 2018 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed Polish President Andrzej Duda's approval of revisions in the controversial Holocaust speech law removing jail penalties. The signing follows the overwhelming votes by the Polish parliament in favor of amending the bill. ADL had expressed deep concern for months in public as well as in meetings with senior Polish officials about this law, which authorizes penalties of up to three years in prison for statements that attribute responsibility or co-responsibility for crimes of the Holocaust to the Polish state or nation.
Ambiguity in this law’s scope raised the dangerous possibility that people could be thrown in jail even for statements attributing culpability to individual Polish nationals or to groups of Poles for crimes related to the Holocaust. ADL repeatedly raised concern that this law has also contributed to a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic speech in Poland, a concern that was similarly voiced by a broad swathe of Polish Jewish organizations in a distressed open letter this February.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, issued the following statement:
“This step is a long overdue effort by the Polish government and parliament to step back from the precipice of implementing this reckless law on speech about the Holocaust. We appreciate that Polish President Duda swiftly signed the updated legislation into law.
While we would prefer for Poland’s counterproductive recent law on Holocaust speech to be stricken from the books entirely, we recognize that today’s changes to it resolve much of this dispute, have less of a chilling effect on historical dialogue, and help mend relations between Poland, its alliance partners, and the international Jewish community.”