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Calling Auschwitz a Polish death camp could land you in prison as government seeks to ban mention of Holocaust role

Deputy justice minister tells reporters to 'stop attributing to Poland the role of Holocaust author'

Kayleigh Lewis
Wednesday 17 February 2016 16:19 GMT
Poland was deeply affected by Nazi occupation during the Second World War
Poland was deeply affected by Nazi occupation during the Second World War (Getty)

Referring to Nazi German death camps as "Polish" could be outlawed if the country's new right-wing government has its way.

Poland’s deputy justice minister, Patryk Jaki, told reporters in Warsaw on Monday to: "Stop attributing to Poland the role of Holocaust author."

According to the BBC, to suggest Poland "took part, organised or was co-responsible for the crimes of the Third Reich" would become illegal if a proposed bill is passed.

Those found guilty of the new crime could face a jail sentence of up to five years.

The broadcaster suggests the law has been drafted in response to the term "Polish death camps," which is sometimes used in foreign media.

Polish officials often request corrections from media outlets who describe death camps, such as Auschwitz, as 'Polish', but the new bill would allow the state to seek civil action and compensation.

However, the BBC notes, Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party previously tried to table a similar bill in 2013 while in opposition, but it was rejected at first reading.

Poland was heavily affected by the Nazi occupation, over 90 per cent of the country's Jewish population was murdered, and millions of European Jews were killed in Nazi-run concentration camps located in Poland.

According to Agence France-Presse, Mr Jaki said of US president Barack Obama's refererence to "Polish death camps" in 2012: "We don't want diplomatic scandals. What we want is to stop these kinds of terms from being used."

The press agency also reported that Auschwitz Museum has launched a "text corrector" application for Microsoft Word and Apple text editors which help writers to avoid the "mistake" of referring to Nazi German death camps as "Polish".

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