January 7, 2011

Petition Against the term "Polish Concentration Camp"

Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp
Imagine how overjoyed Hitler would be if he were alive today, to know that more than 60 years after the end of World War II, many people around the world are using the phrase, "Polish concentration camp", when referring to concentrations camps located in Poland. Individuals, and Media, who insist on using these words today are guilty of spreading propaganda. This terminology is grossly inaccurate, misleading, and slanderous and offensive to the Polish people.  It sets a dangerous precedent towards historical revisionism. The correct terminology is "German Nazi Camps".

Concentration camps or death camps during World War II were not constructed by Polish Christians, but solely by the Nazis who were also its administrators and guards.

When Poland was invaded in September 1939, western areas of Polish territory in addition to the Free City of Danzig were annexed to the Third Reich, while the eastern sector of Poland was incorporated into the Soviet Union. The central area, renamed Generale Gouvernement, was placed under the dictatorship of a Nazi Governor, Dr. Hans Frank.

Though Polish Christians were not interned in ghettos as were the Jews, they were brutally oppressed, arrested, and executed, often by hanging at makeshift gallows, or by firing squad.  In fact the Generale Gourvernement was in essence a vast penal colony in which the Nazis rounded up the Polish intelligentsia, and members of the  Resistance, and executed them by the thousands. (Poland Under Nazi Terror)  Many Polish Christians were imprisoned and murdered in German Nazi camps such as Auschwitz, Stutthof, Belzec.

Hitler's objective (as well as that of Stalin's) was to erase all traces of Polish culture. Polish Christians as well as Polish Jews were targeted for destruction. Hitler instructed his Commanders to kill " without pity or mercy, all men, women and children of Polish descent or language - only in this way can we obtain the living space (lebensraum) we need."  Heinrich Himmler echoed Hitler's declaration, by saying, " All Poles will disappear from the world. It is essential that the great German people should consider it as its major task to destroy all Poles."


Despite constant surveillance by the Nazis, Polish Christians (men, women, as well as children) secretly enlisted in the Home Army and organized thousands of covert operations in an effort to destroy and sabotage German Nazi supply routes and transportation. Moreover, the Polish Underground also discovered, and reported to the Allies, the horrible living conditions of the Jews in the ghettos, and their terrible fate in the German Nazi concentration camps and death camps.

In 1942, Jan Karski, a Polish Christian, and member of the Polish Resistance movement, was smuggled into the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, disguised as a Ukrainian camp guard. He witnessed first hand the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews and reported his findings to the outside world. Yet the British and US governments did not believe him. The western world could not fathom the reality that the "cultured" German people could resort to such savagery.

Jan Karski 1914-2000


VIDEO TESTIMONY OF JAN KARSKI
March 1995
Length: (01h:09m)



Witold Pilecki was a soldier as well as founder of the Secret Polish Army. As a member of the Polish Resistance during WW2, he volunteered to be imprisoned at Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, with the mission of gathering information and evidence of the German Nazi atrocities committed against the Jews. He also organized a resistance movement among the Jewish inmates. When he escaped, he reported to the Polish Government in Exile in London, after which, finally, the western allies were convinced of the reality of the Holocaust. Witold Pilecki survived the war, but slipped back into Poland to spy on the post-war Communists. He was arrested and subjected to a mock trial at which the Polish Prime Minister (and fellow Auschwiz survivor) Jozef Cyrankiewicz provided incriminating testimony. Pilecki was judged guilty of espionage and possession of weapons. He was executed on May 25, 1948 by a single shot to the back of the head.

Witold Pilecki 1901-1948

The Polish Underground,  or Resistance,  was the largest one of its kind in Europe and its members came from a wide cross section of Polish society. Zegota is one such underground organization. It is the codename of organization "Rada Pomocy Zydom" (Council to Aid Jews). It was formed under the auspices of the Polish Government in Exile, through the Government Delegation for Poland, in Warsaw. Their sole objective was to help the Jews find places to hide in Nazi-occupied Poland, as well as provide falsified passports and documents to help them escape Nazi persecution. But in doing so, many Poles risked their lives. The Nazis declared the death penalty to any Poles providing assistance to the Jews.  Despite the dangers, many Poles were strongly committed to save the lives of  their Jewish compatriots.

It was well documented that many Poles had saved Jewish lives during the war. Over 6,000 Polish heroes have been honoured and are remembered by Yad Vashem as well as by the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews. It is a fact that Poland ranks highest in the world for the number of non-Jewish citizens who helped the Jews escape extermination during the Holocaust.


HALL OF NAMES (POLISH RESCUERS OF JEWS WW2), YAD VASHEM
   


MONUMENT DEDICATED TO POLES, 'RIGHTEOUS OF THE WORLD",  WHO SAVED THE JEWS 1939-1945
(click on the above link for information about the monument.)



The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, commented that "accusing Poles of participation in the Holocaust is a sin." Yet on a regular basis, American journalists do just that by calling Auschwitz(-Birkenau) a "Polish concentration camp." This is Holocaust revisionism.


Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich with (Late)President Lech Kaczynski


More than ever we demand accountability from every institution in our society and raise strong objections whenever we detect any impropriety - yet we do not scrutinize media news reports with the same degree of vigor! Perhaps it is because of fear that it might be construed as censorship. Our
Canadian Constitution guarantees every citizen "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other means of communication".  While the media is free to  formulate whatever opinion it holds, it must be based on facts and evidence. To do otherwise would be misleading, unethical, and in many cases, slanderous.


Freedom is not a free ticket to slander.
Free speech must be accompanied by Responsibility and Truth.





Please read the Petition near the end of this blog and sign it
and send the link to everybody you know.
Thank You. 


The following are only a few examples that I have been able to find online concerning offenses committed by the media.  It is by no means a complete list.


NEW YORK TIMES

October 20, 2010.  The newspaper printed an obituary of Dr. George Mathe which mentioned that he had been taken to a "Polish" concentration camp during the war.


LOS ANGELES TIMES

June 2010.  In one of their articles, the newspaper used the phrase, "Nazi Poland" when they meant Nazi-occupied Poland.


WALL STREET JOURNAL
 

May 2010.   In two separate articles, the newspaper persistently used the phrase, "Polish" concentration camps.

June 16, 2010 A New York City police officer, Stefan Komar was so enraged by the slander printed that he demanded a correction, and  public apology from the newspaper.  He expressed every intention of persuading advertisers to withdraw their ads from the Wall Street Journal, yet the newspaper refused to comply.  He has already sent a letter to an advertiser, Sprint Nextel, a telecommunications company, informing them that their affiliation with the newspaper will harm their company's image, and warned them that Polish Americans would stop using Sprint's services, as long as they continue to associate with the Wall Street Journal.  (The population of Polish Americans is in the millions)



CNN

2004.  In a news report, they referred to Treblinka as a Polish concentration camp, and evoked an outrage of protest from Poles.



SPAIN

In January 2009, a Spanish daily newspaper, Publico, printed a caption, as part of an advertisement for the film, "The Pianist" by Roman Polanski, which stated the following:"A heart-breaking story taking place in the Nazi Poland."


CANADA

On November 8, 2003, CTV news broadcasted a report about the Warsaw Ghetto and referred to it as a "Polish" ghetto for Jews.  The Polish Ambassador to Ottawa, Pawel Dobrowolski issued a letter of complaint to the president of CTV Robert Hurst on November 13, demanding a correction and apology.  In his letter on November 20, Hurst stated that the phrase was used only to indicate geographical location.

Mr. Dobrowolski cited a similar incident having taken place in 1988 when the Ottawa Citizen newspaper had printed an article referring to "Polish" concentration camps. A complaint was filed then by the Canadian Polish Congress and was upheld by the Ontario Press Council. However, Hurst remained undeterred and proclaimed that the Ontario Press Council has no business in electronic media.

On April 30, 2004, CTV broadcasted a report about John Demjanjuk, as having been a suspected guard at the "Polish" camp of Treblinka. On May 26, Ambassador Dobrowolski sent another letter of complaint to the President of CTV, but was rebuffed. CTV president Hurst staunchly defended his position claiming that the reference was appropriate and was used only to describe the location of the camp.  He was of the opinion that such expressions are valid and widespread among North American media and teaching establishments.

Finally, on August 18, 2004, an open letter written by the Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz was printed in many of Canwest's newspapers, calling attention to the inappropriate use of terminology to describe German Nazi camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. The same day, Hurst sent a memorandum to all CTV editors and journalists instructing them to refrain from such practices however, no retraction was broadcast on air.  The issue was not over yet.

The Polish Embassy, with the support of the Canadian Polish Congress, Polish-Canadian newspapers, and expats, made a concerted effort to resolve this impasse.  On September 17th, the Embassy filed a complaint with the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Television and Telecommunciations Commission) who subsequently handed the case over to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council for review.

On May 16, 2005, the CBSC published its decision, in favor of the Polish Embassy.  They concluded that CTV had indeed committed a serious breach in the code of journalistic ethics by intentionally broadcasting inaccurate and deleterious information.  The CBSC wholeheartedly rejected Hurst's argument that the phrase was widely used throughout North America and ordered CTV to announce on the air the decision made by the panel to censure CTV.  Hurst was also required to sent a letter to the Polish Embassy informing them of the outcome.


GERMANY

November 2008.  An article was printed in Die Welt, referring to Majdanek as a "Polish" concentration camp.  It provoked sharp criticism from the Polish Foreign Ministry who promised " a serious lawsuit".  It never reached the courts as the editor-in-chief of Die Welt issued a formal apology for a "phrase that slanders Poland" and went so far as to correct the text on the their news website.  Far from being over, the grandson of a concentration camp survivor filed a lawsuit against the newspaper, demanding apologies for all Poles, and guarantees that the offence never happen again.  Unfortunately, the lawsuit was rejected on a technicality: it was brought against "the editors of Die Welt". Nevertheless, the suit was filed a second time, with the assistance of attorney, Lech Obara. (I have no information about the conclusion of this case.


FRANCE

May (?) 2009.  French TV Channel 24, made a report about the deportation of John Demjanjuk, from the US to Germany for his involvement in the murder of thousands of Jews at the "Polish concentration camp" of Sobibor.  Despite a protest by the Polish Embassy, Channel 24, defended themselves with the feeble excuse, saying " We did not mean Polish concentration camp, we meant a Nazi concentration camp that was placed in Poland. We also recognize the difference between those two terms. We would like to express our deepest apologies for the mistake." ( This letter was issued by Vincent Giret, head of the information programs department.





The following is an excerpt from a speech given to the Sejm, by Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Prof. Adam Daniel Rotfeld, January 21, 2005.  That the controversy has occupied the attention of the Polish government, should alert us all to the seriousness of the matter.



Allow me, Mister Speaker, to make a short digression at this point. I believe the time is ripe, 60 years after the end of the war, for the elementary truth about what really happened in occupied Poland to come to the awareness of the representatives of the media in the community of the democratic states – in Europe, the United States and Canada– about who was the aggressor, the occupier, who built the death camps and murdered people there, and who was persecuted, subjugated and subjected to the German, Nazi policy of extermination. It was in Polish territories that the Germans created the largest camps of annihilation, where – alongside the Jewish people – Poles and members of other European nations were murdered on a mass scale.

A few days from now, on 27th January – marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau - the leaders of almost 40 nations will come to attend ceremonies in remembrance of those murdered at the site of that death camp. Today, a few days before the ceremonies that will focus the attention of the whole world, I call on representatives of press organizations, the Association of Polish Journalists and other organizations representing the Polish media, to address – independently of the appeals, corrections and diplomatic representations of the Polish MFA - a letter to their colleagues, and partner organizations of journalists around the world , telling them that the thoughtless or intentional use of the term “Polish death camps” is insulting and shameful. It not only conceals the truth about the perpetrators of that crime, but slanders our nation, which was the first victim of the criminal practices of Nazi Germany.





"Nie ma już tych miasteczek, przeminęły cieniem 

"These townlets do not exist any longer, they passed away with a shadow

I cień ten kłaść się będzie między nasze słowa, 

And this shadow will cast itself between our words,

Nim się bratersko zbliżą i złączą od nowa

Before two nations fed with the same suffering 

Dwa narody karmione tym samym cierpieniem" 

will come closer in brotherly manner and reunite"
                                                                    
"Elegy for Jewish townlets"
by Antoni Słonimski




PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO SIGN THE PETITION.

http://www.thekf.org/events/news/petition/


THANK YOU!


 
Recommended Links:

"Against Polish Camps"
http://www.rzeczpospolita.pl/przeciw/peleg_ang.html

"We Shall Not Let Our Country Be Libeled"
http://www.msz.gov.pl/gallery/serwis/rot_rzecz_1251.html


"The media's slander of Poland: Ignorance, lazy editing, or malicious libel?
http://cosmopolitanreview.com/component/content/article/312

"Polish concentration camp" headlines enrage NYPD cop" 
http://www2.polskieradio.pl/zagranica/ru/news/artykul133723.html 

"Poland in foreign eyes"
http://www.thenews.pl/international/artykul122671_poland-in-foreign-eyes.html


"Polish Embassy in Spain protests against "Nazi Poland"
http://www.thenews.pl/news/artykul100214.html


"Canadian CTV Television censured for inaccurate and unfair reporting in referring to "Polish Ghetto" and "Polish Camp of Treblinka"
http://www.mfa.gov.pl/Canadian,CTV,Television,censured,,for,inaccurate,and,unfair,reporting,in,referring,to,%E2%80%9EPolish,ghetto%E2%80%9D,and,,%E2%80%9EPolish,camp,of,Treblinka%E2%80%9D,2075.html

"Will the NY Times ever get it straight'
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/18520


"NYT Polish death camp slur,"ignorant, lazy, malicious"
http://www.thenews.pl/international/artykul142596_nyt-polish-death-camp-slur-ignorant--lazy--malicious.html


"Apologies for 'Polish Concentration Camp' "
http://news-poland.com/result/news/id/2320


"Polish Camps" in Polish Court
http://wyborcza.pl/1,76842,6928930,_Polish_Camps__in_Polish_Court.html


"Against Polish Death Camps" (on Facebook)
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=127208305180


"Markowa, Poland - Poland to create 'Righteous Among Nations' Museum"
http://www.vosizneias.com/67093/2010/10/28/markowa-poland-poland-to-create-e28098righteous-among-nationse28099-museum/


"Presidential Ceremony Honoring Polish Righteous Among Nations to Take Place Wednesday in Warsaw President Kaczynski and Yad Vashem Chairman Shalev to Speak  (OCTOBER 9, 2007)
http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/pressroom/pressreleases/pr_details.asp?cid=255




5 comments:

Polish Mama on the Prairie said...

Thank you, this list of examples is very clear and really proves the point that it is not a one time slip of the wrong words or terms, but rather, a seemingly wide swept view that it is perfectly alright to use such defamating words against the Polish people and repaint history. Bravo to those willing to stand up and proclaim that the media is responsible to present the truth, not slander.

Anonymous said...

This is a great site and you did a great job in regards to the camp issue. In order to further reduce the confusion as to who was responsible for the camps I would urge you to refer to the camps as GERMAN Nazi camps.
Thanks for your initiative.
Stefan Komar

Polish Greatness said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments about this site. I apologize for any confusion this article has caused. While the content has remained unchanged, I have corrected the terminology to indicate "German Nazi camps". I appreciate your suggestion, Mr. Komar, and thank you so much for your interest. Best Regards!

Anonymous said...

Spooling forwards, how should one render secret detention centers? Should they be referred to as Polish secret detention centers or CIA secret detention centers on Polish territory? Perhaps they are considered too secret to be above the radar.

Polish Greatness said...

Despite your attempt at spinning, please note that there is no correlation between "secret detention centers" and the concentration camps of WW2. Moreover, allegations of Polish collaboration is clearly libelous. Incidentally, in Marty’s report, about 28 countries including Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy and many others have been accused of involvement in the so-called “black sites”. But an investigation by the EU Committee on Legal Affairs concluded that there was no evidence whatsoever to support these claims.

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