Germany accepts sole responsibility for the Holocaust, the country’s foreign minister has told his Polish counterpart amid a dispute over a Polish anti-defamation law that has soured relations between Poland and Israel.
During a Sunday telephone conversation, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz that Germany was solely responsible for the attempted extermination of Jews and crimes against the Polish nation during World War II.
Gabriel added that Poland can count on Germany to firmly maintain that responsibility amid ongoing tensions between Poland and Israel which started after the Polish parliament passed legislation which could penalise anyone who publicly ascribes blame to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by Nazi Germany.
In Poland, the proposed new law is seen as a way of stamping out the use of the phrase “Polish death camps,” which many say implies Poland’s involvement in the Holocaust.
Poland has long fought the use of such wording, which has appeared in foreign media in relation to Nazi German-run extermination camps located in occupied Poland during World War II.
But commentators have said that Israel is concerned that the new law could mean penalties for anyone who criticises individual Poles’ role in the Holocaust.
GermanDeathCamps.info, a new educational website aimed at debunking misconceptions about Poland’s role in the Holocaust, has been launched by Polish Radio.
The disputed Polish bill was passed by the country’s Senate on Thursday and needs to be signed by President Andrzej Duda before it becomes law.