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"Just as the Jews, we were victims", former Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said prior to the vote.

She also denounced the bill as "revolting" in a speech on January 27 that marked the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and which came a day after the lower house of the Polish parliament approved the legislation.

Poland's Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said the government had acted in "good faith", and the country's foreign ministry said the legislation is meant to "protect historic truth" and "fight all forms of denying and distorting the truth about the Holocaust". "This is not the way to reclaim Poland's collective dignity", the statement said.

Poland was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany in 1939. In a sharp break with all previous democratic governments of the left, right and center, going back to 1989, this government does not care how isolated or ridiculous the country becomes. Poland was among the hardest-hit victims of the Nazi s, losing some 6 million citizens, half of them Jews, and is preserving Holocaust memorials.

"Death and suffering in German Nazi concentration camps were a shared experience of Jews, Poles and many other nations", he said, adding that "the Holocaust was an unimaginable crime".

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Another commenter had sent out a tweet using the Polish version of an offensive term against Jews, according to AFP.

Zubrzycki: There have been very similar laws on the book for a while-for example, Article 133 of the penal code, which provides for up to three years' imprisonment for persons who "publicly insult the Polish Nation or the state". "No law will change the facts".

Legal scholars say the wording is worryingly vague. In the public sphere, Article 132a was nicknamed "Gross's Law", as it was specifically tailored to target Jan T. Gross, who published in 2006 a new book on postwar pogroms in Poland, "Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after the Holocaust".

In addition, the document envisages punishment for denial of the "Volyn massacre" and the use of the expression "Polish death camps" in relation to the camps that were located in Poland during the Second World War.

Zubrzycki: The legislation, if accepted, would "police" discourse about the Holocaust on two points: the first is quite broad-it would prohibit any claim that the Polish nation took part in the Holocaust. The department's statement warned that if the legislation is implemented, it could have "repercussions" for "Poland's strategic interests and relationships".

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Duda on Monday pushed back against global criticisms of the law. In response, Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), a state research entity, accused the Israeli embassy in Poland of "inappropriate interference".

Against that backdrop, Poland had seemed to be trying in recent weeks to ease tensions.

"As a prime minister this a do or die moment".

But that also created unease among ardently nationalist PiS hard-liners.

The law, passed by the senate and awaiting the signature of the Polish President, Andrzej Duda, carries a penalty of up to three years for anyone blaming Poland for Nazi crimes on Polish soil.

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