German Prime Minister Angela Merkel declined to comment on Saturday on Poland’s controversial bill that criminalizes statements attributing any fault for the Holocaust to Polish people or the Polish state, the Irish Times reported.
“Without directly interfering in the legislation in Poland, I would like to say the following very clearly as German chancellor: We as Germans are responsible for what happened during the Holocaust, the Shoah, under National Socialism [Nazism],” Merkel said in an episode of her weekly podcast. Merkel was responding to a question from a student, who asked if the law limits freedom of speech in Poland.
The Polish law, recently signed by Polish President Andrzej Duda, states the anyone who lays any blame for the Holocaust with Poland can be sentenced to three years in prison. It is seen as a response to the practice of referring to Nazi-run death camps in Poland, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, as “Polish death camps.”
Merkel’s response came ahead of a meeting planned with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki next week in Berlin.