Poland likely to bar Holocaust denier, foreign minister says

FILE PHOTO: David Irving, the British Holocaust-denier, holds his book titled "It happened in the XX century Hitler's War" as he speaks to Reuters during an interview in Warsaw September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW (Reuters) - Warsaw is likely to refuse Holocaust denier David Irving entry to Poland later this year, the foreign minister said on Friday, citing local legislation that bans denying the genocide.

Israel had urged Poland to deny Irving entry after reports that he planned to lead a tour of Nazi concentration camps in the country. The author of several books, Irving has denied that the Nazis murdered six million Jews during World War Two.

Irving confirmed to Reuters by email that he had planned to visit Poland later this year, as he has in the past.

“Negation of the Holocaust is not allowed by Polish law, therefore he will not be welcome here in Poland if he wants to come and present his opinions,” Jacek Czaputowicz told reporters at a press conference.

Irving sued an American historian, Deborah Lipstadt, for libel in 1996 after she described him as a Holocaust denier. But Lipstadt won, in a case that became the film “Denial”, released in 2016.

Poland’s right-wing government introduced legislation last year that would have made the use of phrases such as “Polish death camps” punishable by up to three years in prison.

After pressure from the United States and an outcry in Israel, Poland watered down the legislation, scrapping the prison sentences.

But the row with Israel revived this year after Israel’s foreign minister said many Poles “suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk” and had collaborated with Nazis in the Holocaust.

Reporting by Alan Charlish in Warsaw; additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge in London and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; writing by Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by Larry King