Senator Stern Urges Polish Lawmakers to Change Holocaust Speech Law

State Senator Henry Stern addresses a crowd.

At a City of Malibu event recognizing the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on March 30, California Senator Henry Stern pushed Polish Republic Consul Ignacy Żarski to reconsider an amendment to Poland’s Act on the Institute of National Remembrance.

The 1998 act criminalized the denial of Nazi crimes and other offences committed against Polish citizens and those of other nationalities.

The amendment—Act of 26 January 2018—legalizes “criminal penalties up to three years in prison for any individual who ‘attributes to the Polish Nation or to the Polish State responsibility or co-responsibility for the Nazi crimes committed by the German Third Reich.’”

Authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine, Assembly Joint Resolution Number 35 strongly recommends that Polish lawmakers revisit the amendment to make changes or reverse it entirely. 

Stern said, “I think telling the truth about history matters … Especially in the areas of remembrance and memory, we have to focus on no fear in speech, and no fear in dialogue.” 

Poland’s constitutional tribunal is currently reviewing the amendment.