Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has defended the controversial bill stating that casting blame on Poland for crimes committed during the Holocaust should be illegal, amid backlash from Israeli lawmakers.

The Auschwitz concentration camp

The Auschwitz concentration camp Photo credit: Max Pixel

Amid sharp condemnations voiced by Israeli politicians, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Saturday defended his country’s bill that outlaws any mention of Poland’s part in the Holocaust, 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.

The bill, which hasn’t been made into a law yet, states that casting blame on Poland for crimes committed during the Holocaust or using the term “Polish death camps” should be punishable by up to three years in prison.

On Saturday, JOL reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry is expected to reprimand the Deputy Polish Ambassador to Israel over the bill.

The Polish embassy in Tel Aviv

The Polish embassy in Tel Aviv Photo credit: Wikipedia

The bill has been slammed by Israeli lawmakers from both the coalition and the opposition. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “outrageous” and ordered the Israeli Ambassador to Poland to meet with the Polish Prime Minister and express Netanyahu’s “firm opposition” to the bill.

Israel’s President Reuven Riviln has also issued a statement against the bill, quoting Poland’s former president Aleksander Kwaśniewski’s own words from a speech he made at the Knesset. “One cannot fake history, rewrite it or hide the truth,” Rivlin said, quoting Kwaśniewski.

MK Yair Lapid, the chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid party, tweeted that “hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered (in Poland) without ever meeting a German soldier. There were Polish death camps and no law can ever change that.”