President says Poland did not take part in the Holocaust

Anna Azari_780188

Israeli Ambassador to Poland, Anna Azari, speaks during a ceremony marking the 13th International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the victims of the Holocaust, at the Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland’s president says there was no institutionalized participation by Poland or its people in the Holocaust, but acknowledges that individual Poles took “wicked” actions against Jewish neighbors.

President Andrzej Duda said Monday that he would never allow Poland and Poles in general to be “vilified” though “false accusations.”

Duda seemed to be reacting to anger in Israel over a bill that would prohibit public statements assigning to “the Polish nation” responsibility for crimes committed by Nazi Germany during its World War II occupation of Poland.

Violations would be punishable by fines or prison terms of up to three years.

In Israel, the legislation has been interpreted as an attempt to undermine scholarly research and deny facts about the Holocaust.

Polish and Israeli officials are discussing the bill’s wording, which critics say is unclear.

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