Three Polish citizens were posthumously declared ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ on Tuesday for helping to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust, amid a row with Poland’s government over the adoption of a bill that aims to punish those who accuse Poland of complicity with the Nazis.

The Yad Vashem Hall of Names

The Yad Vashem Hall of Names Photo credit: Wikipedia

Three Polish citizens were posthumously honored on Tuesday for saving lives of Jews during the Holocaust, amid a diplomatic row with Poland over a new bill outlawing any mention of Poland’s assistance to the Nazi regime.

Piotr Kozlowski, the deputy Polish ambassador to Israel, spoke at the honoring ceremony in Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial site in Jerusalem. Kozlowski, who was summoned by Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday after the controversial legislation was adopted, did not mention the row in his speech.

On Saturday, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki defended the bill, tweeting that the name Auschwitz-Birkenau and the phrase Arbeit Macht Frei are not in Polish.

“Auschwitz is the most bitter lesson on how evil ideologies can lead to hell on earth,” Morawiecki wrote. “Jews, Poles and all victims should be guardians of the memory of all who were murdered by German Nazis.”

In another tweet, Morawiecki wrote that Israel and Poland had agreed back in 2016 that the phrase “Polish death camps” is misleading and should not be used.