Poland's President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday signed into law a controversial Holocaust bill meant to safeguard his country's image overseas but which has instead sparked tensions with Israel, the United States and Ukraine.
The criticism from Tillerson came hours after Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the measure, which would impose criminal penalties for blaming the Holocaust and other Nazi war crimes on the nation of Poland.
"(This bill). protects Polish interests. our dignity, the historical truth.so that we are not slandered as a state and as a nation", said Duda, an ally of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) which introduced the legislation.
The law has been criticised by the U.S. as an attack on free speech, although it provides exemptions for academic researchers and artists.
Markiewicz said the American Jewish Committee agreed that those crimes were committed by individuals and that the term "Polish death camps", was "unjust and untrue" but cautioned that an extensive ban on freedom of speech was the wrong way forward.
The President's office says the majority of the legislation will take effect 14 days after it appears at the country's Journal of Laws - which could happen as early as Wednesday.
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Israel's Foreign Ministry responded to the news of Duda's decision Tuesday, expressing hope that the constitutional review would prompt "changes and corrections".
It has caused a diplomatic crisis with Israel, which fears it will enable Poland to whitewash the role of Poles who killed or denounced Jews to Germans during the German occupation of Poland during WWII.
At the time, Poland's then-Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland should take "legal action against all those powerful foreign media organisations that still dare use" terms like "Polish death camps".
"True, the extermination camps in Poland were built and operated by the Germans, and we must not allow them to avoid this responsibility".
Duda said he would also ask the Constitutional Tribunal for a number of clarifications about the bill. The over 3 million Jews who lived in Poland and were murdered by the Nazis account for about half of all Jews killed in the Holocaust.
It excludes those who speak "within the framework of artistic or scientific activity". Kiev accused Poland of politicizing history and promoting a "one-sided interpretation of historic events".
The State Department agreed in a statement last week that the phrase "Polish death camps" was "inaccurate, misleading, and hurtful".