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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

Meng Condemns President of Poland's Decision to Sign Controversial Holocaust Bill

Feb 6, 2018
Press Release
Decision comes after Meng sends letter to President Duda urging him not to sign
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) today condemned Polish President Andrzej Duda’s decision to sign controversial legislation that would criminalize references to Polish complicity in the Holocaust. Meng also sent a letter to Duda urging him not to sign the legislation.  
 
"It is unspeakable that Poland is even contemplating sending its citizens to prison for expressing the sentiment that Poland was involved in the Holocaust," said Rep. Meng. "For the Polish government to ban specific phrases that it disagrees with is censorship. School teachers, Holocaust survivors, and other Polish citizens should not be censored or punished for sharing their stories or trying to educate future generations about experiences of the Holocaust in Poland. I strongly urge President Duda to reconsider his misguided decision and do the right thing by abandoning this hurtful legislation."
 
The Polish parliament passed the legislation, which criminalizes references to Polish complicity in Nazi war crimes against Jews in occupied Poland during World War II, on February 1. Today, President Duda announced that he will sign the legislation into law, against the strong concerns of Members of Congress and the governments of the United States and Israel.
 
A copy of Meng's letter to President Duda can be found here. The text of the correspondence is below. 
 
--------------------------------------------
 
President Andrzej Duda
Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland
ul. Wiejska 10
00-902 Warszawa
Poland 

Dear President Duda,

I write to express my grave concern regarding legislation seeking to criminalize statements that Poland was complicit in the Nazi atrocities committed on Polish soil during World War II. Respectfully, and ally to ally, I ask you not to sign this legislation into law.

Some of the most notorious Nazi death camps of the Holocaust were located on occupied Polish soil, including Auschwitz.  Schoolteachers who wish to speak to this history, and Holocaust survivors who recount their own personal experiences, run the risk of violating this newly proposed law. It is imperative that such discussions occur, however, if we are to avoid repeating the horrors of the Holocaust. Discussion should not be criminalized, especially in democratic societies.

With the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe, we must do everything in our power to ensure that our actions and our words reflect the unequivocal stance that such positions are wrong. Together, we must continue to say "never again" to anyone who will listen, and especially to those who will not. I thank you for your time spent reviewing this letter, and for pursuing a path that will ultimately lead to resolution and further remembrance. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Grace Meng
Member of Congress