Starting on Thursday, it is officially considered a crime in Poland to mention Poles’ responsibility and complicity in Nazi crimes during World War II. Diplomatic attempts by Israeli officials to insert changes to the law have failed so far.

The Auschwitz concentration camp

The Auschwitz concentration camp Photo credit: Max Pixel

The highly-controversial Polish Holocaust law went into effect on Thursday as Polish and Israeli representatives were meeting in Jerusalem in an attempt to resolve the bitter rift between the countries.

The law states that accusing Poles of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II is punishable by up to three years in prison, as is using the term “Polish death camps.”

On Thursday, a Polish delegation of representatives arrived in Israel and held the first of a series of working meetings with Israeli officials in an effort to reach common ground.

Last week, Poland’s largest opposition party, the Civic Platform (PO), issued amendments to the controversial bill, but they were not adopted by right-wing ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), which controls both houses of parliament.

On Saturday, European Council President Donald Tusk denounced the “anti-Semitic remarks” that have been made in Poland following the adoption of the bill. “This directly affects Poland’s interests, its reputation and its status in the world,” Tusk said in a press conference.