Tillerson condemns Polish president signing bill on Holocaust speech
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday condemned a decision by the Polish president to sign a controversial bill outlawing speech that blames Poland for crimes committed by Nazi Germany, saying that the law hinders free speech.
The criticism from Tillerson came hours after Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the measure, which would impose criminal penalties for blaming the Holocaust and other Nazi war crimes on the nation of Poland.
While signing the bill, Duda said he would refer the law to the country’s constitutional court for evaluation.
“The United States is disappointed that the President of Poland has signed legislation that would impose criminal penalties for attributing Nazi crimes to the Polish state,” Tillerson said in a statement.
“We understand this law will be referred to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal,” he added. “Enactment of this law adversely affects freedom of speech and academic inquiry.”
Prior to its signing, the measure faced criticism from the both the U.S. and Israel, which argued that it would suppress open discussions about the Holocaust.
Polish lawmakers argued that the bill was necessary to help protect Poland’s reputation from what they deemed possible confusion surrounding the crimes of Nazi Germany.
Several defunct Nazi death camps are located in Poland, including Auschwitz.