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Poland’s NGOs criticize government law on Holocaust speech

March 12, 2018
Hundreds of Poles gathered to express their solidarity with Jews who perished in the Holocaust, were expelled from Poland 50 years ago or feel the effects of anti-Semitism today, in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, March 11, 2018. The speakers at the demonstration also denounced the policies of the current Polish government which have led to a dispute with Israel and sparked a wave of anti-Semitic rhetoric. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Hundreds of Poles gathered to express their solidarity with Jews who perished in the Holocaust, were expelled from Poland 50 years ago or feel the effects of anti-Semitism today, in Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, March 11, 2018. The speakers at the demonstration also denounced the policies of the current Polish government which have led to a dispute with Israel and sparked a wave of anti-Semitic rhetoric. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Non-government organizations in Poland have distanced themselves from the right-wing government’s policies that have strained Polish-Jewish relations and some say have led to a wave of anti-Semitism.

In a letter to “international public opinion” they said they didn’t share the government’s views but supported Polish-Jewish dialogue, including the painful truth about the Holocaust.

They were referring to Poland’s new law that makes it a crime to blame Poles for crimes committed by Nazi Germans. Critics in Israel say it could encourage whitewashing some facts about the Holocaust.

The organizers of the letter said Monday that more than 100 organizations have signed it. Former President Lech Walesa and movie director Agnieszka Holland also back the letter.

The organizations held a rally Sunday to show solidarity with Jews and condemn anti-Semitism.

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