A U.S.-born Israeli author says he can understand why the Polish government is pushing back on historic claims over the country's involvement in the Holocaust.
For years the Polish people have resented phrases such as "Polish death camps" referring to Auschwitz and other death camps that Nazi Germany built and operated in occupied Polish territory during World War II. Now a new Polish law makes it a crime to accuse the Polish nation of crimes that were committed in its homeland by Germans.
The law has sparked controversy with Israel, where Holocaust survivors and officials fear its true aim is to repress research and debate about Poles who killed Jews during the war.
David Rubin, a former mayor of the Israeli town of Shiloh, tells OneNewsNow there are two sides to the argument of Poland's involvement in World War II.
"There has been a lot of Polish anti-Semitism over the years and a lot of Poles actually cooperated with the Nazis in harming the Jews," he says. "There are also a lot of Poles who actually hid Jews during the Holocaust."
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum reports three million Polish Jews were murdered during World War II and at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians were killed during the same period.
The Nazis considered Poles to be an inferior race and killed the country's political leaders, intellectuals, teachers, and priests in the early months of the occupation.
Warsaw is also home to the famous 1944 uprising against the Nazis, which claimed another 200,000 Polish lives.
Rubin says he understands why the Polish government is sensitive about the death camp connection.
"It's probably unnecessary but I understand where they're coming from because they were occupied, too, by the Nazis," Rubin observes. "The death camps where Jews were slaughtered in Poland, they weren't set up by the Polish. They were set up by the Germans, by the Nazis."
Poland's president signed the law last month but also sent it to the constitutional court for review.
Polish officials have said no criminal charges will be brought until the court has made its ruling, which is expected in several weeks.