FILE - In this file photo dated Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visits the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Who Saved Jews during WWII, in Markowa, Poland. Poland’s nationalist-conservative ruling party backed away Wednesday June 27, 2018, from a controversial Holocaust speech law, with prime minister Morawiecki introducing a new version of the law that would remove criminal provisions for statements deemed harmful to Poland’s good name. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz, FILE)

The Latest: Jewish group welcomes changes to Polish law

June 27, 2018 - 7:01 am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on Poland reversing course on a disputed Holocaust speech law (all times local):

1 p.m.

The World Jewish Congress has welcomed Poland's decision to scrap criminal provisions that were part of a Holocaust speech law.

Polish lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the changes Wednesday at the request of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, said the organization was "pleased that the Polish government has recognized the untenable nature of its new Holocaust law."

The original version of the law, passed early this year, called for prison terms of up to three years for falsely accusing the Polish nation of Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany. The ruling Law and Justice party said it was trying to stop the use of expressions like "Polish death camps" for Nazi camps on occupied Polish territory during World War II.

Lauder said, "Poles are understandably upset when Nazi German annihilation and concentration camps are referred to as 'Polish' simply due to their location on German-occupied Polish soil, but it was an egregious mistake to criminalize those who do so."

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11:35 a.m.

Polish lawmakers have passed changes to a disputed Holocaust speech law, removing criminal provisions for attributing Nazi crimes to Poles.

The speaker of parliament, Marek Kuchcinski, said that the amendments passed 388 to 25 with five abstentions during the Wednesday vote.

The original version of the law, passed earlier this year, called for prison terms of up to three years for falsely accusing the Polish nation of Holocaust crimes that were committed by Nazi Germany.

Poland's nationalist ruling party, Law and Justice, said it was trying to protect historic truth about Poland, which was a victim of World War II.

But the law sparked a major diplomatic crisis with Israel and the United States.

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9:30 a.m.

Polish lawmakers are debating a new version of a Holocaust speech law that would remove criminal provisions for statements deemed harmful to Poland's good name.

A version of the law passed earlier this year called for prison terms of up to three years for falsely accusing the Polish nation of Holocaust crimes that were committed by Nazi Germany.

It sparked a major diplomatic crisis with Israel, where many felt it was an attempt to whitewash Poland's history of violence against Jews during World War II. The United States warned it threatened academic freedom and that it would harm Poland's "strategic position."

The new draft bill was presented to parliament by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and represents a defeat for the nationalist government.

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