Poland’s parliament earlier in the day voted to soften the disputed law, which, in its original wording, criminalised blaming Poland as a nation for Nazi German atrocities during World War II.
The modifications, which were fast-tracked through both houses of the legislature and subsequently signed into effect by the country's president, removed criminal provisions and the threat of prison terms for those using the historically inaccurate term “Polish death camps” or suggesting that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.
The two prime ministers said in their joint declaration that “there is a common responsibility to conduct free research, to promote understanding and to preserve the memory of the history of the Holocaust.”
They also said that “the term ‘Polish concentration/death camps’ is blatantly erroneous and diminishes the responsibility of Germans for establishing those camps."
The statement condemns all forms of anti-Semitism as well as "anti-Polonism and other negative national stereotypes."
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference in Warsaw that the contested law, which was enacted earlier this year, helped stimulate international debate about Poland’s wartime history amid efforts to protect the country’s reputation abroad and set the record straight on its role in the Holocaust.
At a simultaneous news conference in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was cited as saying that Israel welcomed Poland's decision to amend the controversial law.
"I'm pleased that the Polish government, the parliament, the Senate and the president of Poland decided today to fully rescind the clauses that were signed and caused a storm and consternation in Israel and among the international community," Netanyahu said in a live announcement, as quoted by the Reuters news agency.
“It’s obvious that the Holocaust was an unprecedented crime committed by Nazi Germany against the Jewish nation, including all Poles of Jewish origin,” he noted, as quoted by the Times of Israel, an Israeli-based online newspaper.
Public broadcaster Polish Radio has launched a special website, GermanDeathCamps.info, aimed at debunking misconceptions about Poland’s role in the Holocaust.
Source: PAP/IAR, timesofisrael.com, Reuters