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AJR-35 Polish law: Holocaust speech.(2017-2018)

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Revised  May 29, 2018
Corrected  May 30, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 26, 2018


Assembly Joint Resolution
No. 35

Introduced by Assembly Member Levine
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Berman, Bloom, Friedman, Medina, Nazarian, Rubio, and Thurmond) Thurmond, Acosta, Aguiar-Curry, Travis Allen, Arambula, Baker, Bonta, Brough, Burke, Caballero, Calderon, Carrillo, Cervantes, Chau, Chávez, Chen, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Cunningham, Dahle, Daly, Eggman, Fong, Frazier, Gallagher, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Gloria, Gonzalez Fletcher, Gray, Grayson, Harper, Holden, Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Kamlager-Dove, Lackey, Limón, Low, Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Melendez, Mullin, Muratsuchi, O’Donnell, Patterson, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Reyes, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Ting, Voepel, Waldron, and Weber)
(Coauthors: Senators Allen, Glazer, Hertzberg, Jackson, Newman, Stern, Wieckowski, and Wiener)

March 14, 2018

Relative to a Polish legislation law on speech related to the Holocaust.


AJR 35, as amended, Levine. Polish legislation: law: Holocaust speech.
This measure would urge lawmakers in Poland to reverse or revise a recent Polish legislation law on speech related to the Holocaust. Holocaust, would call on Congress to join that effort, and would call for a renewed commitment to Holocaust education in California.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, The recent enactment of legislation by the Parliament of Poland, signed by President Andrzej Duda, criminalizes certain speech concerning the Polish nation’s and the Polish state’s responsibility and role in crimes against humanity committed during the Nazi German occupation of Poland; and
WHEREAS, Beginning with the Nazi German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and throughout the course of the Nazi occupation, the Polish people suffered immensely at the hands of the Nazis, resulting in the death of millions of innocent Polish people during World War II; and
WHEREAS, The Polish government was in exile at the time of the Holocaust; and
WHEREAS, It was Nazi Germany that engineered and perpetrated the murder of six million Jews, nearly half of them Polish Jews, largely through Nazi extermination camps in occupied Poland; and
WHEREAS, The Polish people showed undeniable bravery in resisting the occupying forces; and
WHEREAS, There were thousands of Poles, recognized by Yad Vashem, the State of Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, as Righteous Among the Nations, who risked their lives to provide assistance to Jews during the Nazi period; and
WHEREAS, There were Polish individuals and groups in Nazi-occupied Poland who committed crimes against Jews; and
WHEREAS, The new legislation law in Poland, which says in part, “Whoever claims, publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich... or Reich...or for other felonies that constitute crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or whoever otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators of said crimes — shall crimes—shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment for up to three years,” may limit the ability to convey the full story of what transpired during the Holocaust; and
WHEREAS, During World War II, there were thousands of Jews who died not at the hands of Nazi Germans but of their fellow Poles, as was the case in the town of Jedwabne, Poland, on July 10, 1941; and
WHEREAS, While the new controversial law in Poland does not apply to research or artistic expression, the lines of distinction may be unclear, thereby suppressing the search for truth and legitimate conversations about history; and
WHEREAS, The State of California supports the efforts of the Polish government to fight the usage of the term “Polish death camps,” which is historically inaccurate and hurtful; and
WHEREAS, The Constitutional Tribunal of Poland is reviewing the new law; now, therefore, be it and
WHEREAS, Since 2002, the Legislature of the State of California has held an annual Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony, which includes honoring California residents who are Holocaust survivors and hearing their powerful stories on the floor of the Assembly; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature of the State of California urges lawmakers in Poland to reverse or revise the new controversial Polish law on speech related to the Holocaust so that open discussion and a thorough examination of what occurred during the Nazi German occupation of Poland can take place; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislature calls for a renewed commitment to Holocaust education in California so that future generations continue to learn about the past and work to prevent the rise of anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislature calls on Congress to join in urging lawmakers in Poland to reverse or revise the new law and in renewing our national commitment to Holocaust education; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

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