Polish lawmakers vote to decriminalize Holocaust speech law

June 27 (UPI) — Polish lawmakers moved Wednesday to change a law that made accusing Poland of complicity in Nazi war crimes during the Holocaust a criminal offense.

The lower house of Polish Parliament voted Wednesday to decriminalize the offense, describing the move as a “correction.”

The office of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the controversial law was intended to “defend the good name of Poland.”

The changes could mean offenders would no longer face possible fines or up to three years in prison for using the phrase “Polish death camps” — or for suggesting Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.

“Those who say that Poland may be responsible for the crimes of World War II deserve jail terms,” Morawiecki told parliament Wednesday. “But we operate in an international context and we take that into account.”

The bill was designed to protect Poland’s image and show it was a victim of Nazi Germany’s aggression.

Israeli and U.S. leaders criticized the bill before it was signed, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the measure is an attempt to rewrite history and deny the Holocaust.

The United States criticized Poland for blocking freedom of speech.

The proposed change now moves to the Senate.