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Polish official fired for branding country's Holocaust law as 'stupid'

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By AP  with Euronews
Tourists gather in front of the monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto who fought in the 1943 uprising.
Tourists gather in front of the monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto who fought in the 1943 uprising.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File

A Polish diplomat has been dismissed for criticising the government's approach to regulating speech on the Holocaust.

Jaroslaw Nowak was fired by Poland's foreign ministry just days after labelling the country's laws "stupid".

Nowak had served as Poland's diplomat in charge of improving relations with Jews worldwide and made the remarks during an interview with the UK weekly Jewish News.

In Poland, a 2018 law bans certain statements about the Holocaust that claim Poland -- a victim of Nazi Germany -- also bore responsibility.

The legislation originally called for prison terms of up to three years for falsely attributing German crimes to Poland but was later amended to remove the criminal provisions.

The legislation had outraged Israel, while Nowak told Jewish News the bill is "one of the stupidest amendments that was ever done by any law."

Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau dismissed Nowak on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesperson Lukasz Jasina announced on Twitter.

Last year, Poland also approved a law that restricts the rights to reclaim property seized by the country’s former communist regime. Among those affected are Holocaust survivors and their heirs and the law also provoked a serious diplomatic dispute with Israel which still remains unresolved.

Nowak also told Jewish News that Poland should pass a law on property restitution, further criticising the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

The move to sack Nowak has been criticised by several Jewish organisations and activists, as well as Polish politicians.

Opposition MP Radosław Sikorski said on Twitter that Nowak had been dismissed for "telling the truth" about Poland's laws on Holocaust speech.