PRESS RELEASE: CIJA Encouraged by Changes to Shameful Polish Law Criminalizing Free Speech about the Holocaust
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2018
Ottawa, ON—Today, the Polish legislature amended a law passed in January that criminalized statements that suggest that the Polish state or nation was complicit in the Holocaust. The law, which met widespread criticism, called for prison terms of up to three years for those convicted. Today’s amendments remove the criminal provisions and associated penalties from the legislation.
In response, Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), issued the following:
“We are grateful that Canada and other countries have spoken out against the law. In partnership with Canadian Holocaust Survivors, we have been working to defeat the legislation by mobilizing thousands of community members to write the Polish Embassy to voice their objections. In our meetings with Polish diplomats in Canada, we have made it clear that the law threatens free speech, obstructs genuine Holocaust remembrance, and is a stain on Poland’s global reputation. We are pleased this message has been received and we reiterate our call on the Government of Poland to scrap this legislation entirely.”
Edit Kuper – Co-President of the Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants (CJHSD), an independent organization affiliated with CIJA, added:
“We are encouraged by today’s amendments, which are a step in the right direction. However, we remain deeply concerned that the legislation continues to put an unacceptable chill on freedom of speech, including on the ability of Survivors, descendants, and historians to share the truth about what happened in Poland during and after the Holocaust.
“We were particularly alarmed to see a spike in antisemitism in Poland as the bill was debated earlier this year. We urge Poland to do more to protect its Jewish citizens.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA.
The Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants (CJHSD) is a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of its members and represents Canadian survivors at the Jewish Material Claims Conference. The CJHSD is an independent organization affiliated with CIJA.
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