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Ban the Phrase 'Polish Death Camps'

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The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
May 30, 2012 | 2,097 views | 9 comments

By Alex Storozynski
President & Executive Director
The Kosciuszko Foundation

Two years ago I posted a petition on the Kosciuszko Foundation web site asking media outlets to stop using the phrase "Polish Concentration Camps." Many prominent people, such as the Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski, Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa, Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich, members of the United States Congress, historians, Holocaust survivors, and more than 300,000 people signed the petition.

When I asked him two years ago, President Obama's Ambassador to Poland, Lee Feinstein, said that as a government official he could not sign it. President Bush's outgoing Ambassador to Poland, Victor Ashe signed it without any problem.

Since then, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and other media outlets have changed their stylebooks to ban the use of this phrase. Yesterday, President Obama marred the ceremony presenting the President Medal of Freedom to World War II hero Jan Karski by saying that Karski went to a "Polish death camp."

So far, the National Security Administration spokesman has issued a lukewarm statement saying that the President "misspoke."

President Obama should truly acknowledge his mistake and sign the petition. Ambassador Feinstein should sign it as well.

Kosciuszko Foundation Petition on Death Camps:


WHEREAS the media uses the historically erroneous terms "Polish concentration camp" and "Polish death camp" to describe Auschwitz and other Nazi extermination camps built by the Germans during World War II, which confuses impressionable and undereducated readers, leading them to believe that the Holocaust was executed by Poland, rather than Nazi Germany,

WHEREAS these phrases are Holocaust revisionism that desecrate the memories of six million Jews from 27 countries who were murdered by Nazi Germany,

WHEREAS Poland was the first country invaded by Germany, and the only country whose citizens suffered the death penalty for rescuing Jews, yet never surrendered during six years of German occupation, even though one-sixth of its population was killed in the war, approximately half of which was Christian,

WHEREAS educated journalists must know these facts and not cross the libel threshold of malice by using phrases such as "Polish concentration camps,"

WHEREAS The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Yahoo! Inc., and The Associated Press have changed their style guides prohibiting the use of the phrase "Polish concentration camps,"

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the undersigned request that all news outlets include entries in their stylebooks requiring news stories to be historically accurate, using the official name of all "German concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Poland," as UNESCO did in 2007 when it named the camp in Auschwitz, "The Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)."
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Your Opinions and Comments

Publius Valerius Publicola  
Rome, Tx.  
May 31, 2012 11:41am
Yeah, T-Bone. That's what I'm talkin' about. The real history.

Elaine K.  
May 31, 2012 10:07am
O's polish blunder/Fumbles on Nazi death camps By ALEX STOROZYNSKI President Obama put his foot in his mouth by referring to a "Polish death camp" as he was awarding a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom ... More ›

T-Bone Pickens  
May 31, 2012 9:36am
Tyra's comment goes to show you we have a long way to go in our school systems down in South Texas. Everyone knows the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor after Abraham Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamation which led ... More ›

Publius Valerius Publicola  
Rome, Tx.  
May 31, 2012 9:09am
Tyra just what history did you read? Perhaps you and Obama had better read the real history of WWII.

Martin Kufus  
Eagle Creek Ranch subdiv., TX  
May 30, 2012 3:54pm
Every now and again something occurs on the world's stage that quite unexpectedly backfires and embarrasses a US president. Barack Obama is feeling the sting now after his unfortunate (and historically incorrect) reference to ... More ›

Be Careful  
Floresville, TX  
May 30, 2012 2:21pm
Tyra you might as well say Obama did it. By mislabeling the Nazi death camps, he is giving the Nazi's a pass. The Nazi's brutalized the Poles. I wouldn't call them German death camps as not all Germans were part of the atrocity.

Senior Citizen  
Wilson County  
May 30, 2012 1:45pm
An explanation from Wikipedia: The most popular explanation for the use of the phrase "Polish death camp" is that German Nazi concentration camps were built in Poland; however, only few of them were actually located ... More ›

May 30, 2012 1:34pm
Isn't this just like those people that want to get out of taking responsbility for what they have done. It is part of history and will not be removed because you now have a conscience. Thank your ancesstors for that. You may ... More ›

Elaine K.  
May 30, 2012 12:16pm
New post.

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