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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Statement by the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland on the Amendment to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance

With regard to the opinions and assessments presented in connection with the adoption by the Polish Sejm of the Act “amending the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance  - Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation and some other Acts”, the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland wishes to make the following statement:


1.       The works conducted by the Polish Parliament on the above-mentioned law have not been completed, therefore the President of the Republic of Poland shall present his final assessment of the currently proceeded provisions after the parliamentary procedure has been completed and following a detailed analysis of the final form of the Act. The President of the Republic of Poland respects in this case the autonomy of the legislative procedure in the Polish Parliament.


2.      With regard to the voices heard in the public space we wish to point out that  the Act is aimed at preventing lies and false accusations against the Polish Nation and the Polish State, as directly reflected by the provision of the draft law. Therefore, if the voices of those criticizing the draft result exclusively from their care for the truth about the Holocaust, then the Act meets their expectations and is not contradictory to them. The search and documentation of the truth, as well as prosecution and stigmatization of lies are

concurrent actions and have the same goal. We have common, Polish-Jewish significant achievements in this area, like ensuring that the proper historical name be given by UNESCO to the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. We acted together in that case and together we managed to confirm that truth. Hence today anyone who uses the false term “Polish death camp” to describe this and other camps, not only desecrates the memory of the victims but also poisons the awareness with the lie, which should be stigmatized and punished. At the same time, anyone whose personal memory or historical research conveys a true message about the crimes and actions of contemptible nature, is fully entitled to that truth.


3.      We regret that the critical voices about the draft law appeared in Poland and abroad on the day commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau. The commemoration ceremonies were held in the presence of the survivors of this German camp, including Poles and Jews. Whereas the content and the form of some of the comments in particular were not conducive to rational clarification of the situation but stirred unnecessary, emotional reactions instead.


4.      We also wish to call upon the politicians and commentators who are discussing this matter in Poland, to keep the intellectual discipline and jointly contribute to the clarification of the real intentions underpinning the proceeded law and, by doing that, to serve the truth and care for the good opinion about Poland and Poles.  


Krzysztof Szczerski

Chief of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Poland  

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