Germany fully responsible for Holocaust, German Foreign Minister assures
Poland may rest assured that Germany takes full responsibility for the Holocaust and will condemn the use of the term "Polish" in reference to Nazi death camps as historically false, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement on Saturday.
"Poland can rest assured that our response to falsification of history in any form, such as use of the term "Polish concentration camp", the English-language version of the statement read.
Gabriel's statement came in response to ongoing debates around a Polish anti-defamation bill that among others penalises calling World War II Nazi death camps in German-occupied Poland "Polish". The bill, which amends an Act on the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), also foresees fines and prison terms for suggesting Polish co-responsibility for Nazi crimes and the denial of war crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists.
"There is absolutely no doubt about who bears responsibility for the extermination camps (...). This organised mass murder was perpetrated by our country and no one else. The actions of individual collaborators do not alter that fact," Gabriel said.
Gabriel went on to say that it was necessary for Holocaust victims to be able to speak about their suffering "without restriction."
Polish government spokesperson Joanna Kopcinska told PAP on Sunday that Gabriel's words were "an important part of the debate on the true perpetrators of the Holocaust."
"Statements by German politicians are an important part of the debate on the true perpetrators of the Holocaust, and quite surely contribute to a better global understanding of this issue," Kopcinska said.
Kopcinska also informed about a Sunday conversation between Gabriel and Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, in which Czaputowicz thanked the German minister for his words about Germany's responsibility for the Holocaust.
Czaputowicz assured Gabriel that the discussed anti-defamation bill did not restrict academic research on the Holocaust nor Holocaust-related artistic expression, Kopcinska said.