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Polish Officials Demand Obama Apology for ‘Polish Death Camps’ Remark

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Polish officials called on President Obama to apologize for using the term “Polish death camps.”

Obama awarded a posthumous presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday to Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter who was among the first to report German atrocities in his country.

“Fluent in four languages, possessed of a photographic memory, Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II,” Obama said. “Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.  Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action.”

Poles insist on the term “Nazi death camps” to describe facilities such as Auschwitz and Sobibor.

In a tweet reported by BuzzFeed, Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, said that Obama “will apologize for this outrageous error,” ascribing it to “ignorance and incompetence.”

Other officials also weighed in with outrage on social media.

BuzzFeed quoted Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman, as saying that “the president was referring to Nazi death camps operated in Poland. The president has demonstrated in word and deed his rock-solid commitment to our close alliance with Poland.”

Holocaust historians say the record of Polish behavior during the Holocaust is vexed and contradictory.

There was much collaboration with the Nazis, and the resistance did little to protect Jews until 1942, reflecting the pervasive anti-Semitism that infected the country before the German invasion in 1939.

Karski himself, in his first dispatches, fretted that native Polish anti-Semitism would frustrate efforts to save the Jews. In a February 1940 dispatch quoted in The Holocaust Encyclopedia, Karski said that Nazi anti-Jewish measures were creating “something akin to a narrow bridge upon which the Germans and a large portion of Polish society are finding agreement.” A Jewish-Polish resistance would encounter “serious resistance” among large parts of Polish society, he reported.

On the other hand, once the scope of the genocide became clear, some of the Polish resistance sought to rescue Jews.

More than 90 percent of Polish Jewry’s prewar 3.5 million Jews was wiped out in the Holocaust, and efforts by Jews to return to their homes after the war were in some cases met by pogroms instigated by neighbors who had taken over their properties.

The tiny community that persisted in post-war Poland lay low, in part because anti-Semitism was still pervasive.

Only in recent years, after the fall of Communism, has the community undergone a minor revival.

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26 Responses to “Polish Officials Demand Obama Apology for ‘Polish Death Camps’ Remark”

  1. Macaroni Jones says:

    We apologize for our idiot president. We not only have to live with him, but also with all the degenerates who voted for him. It's not good.

  2. Matt Kuranski says:

    Despite some Polish anti-semitism, MOST of the world's Jews CHOSE to live in Poland for ONE THOUSAND years. That says something.

    As the famous rabbi Moses Isserles said, "If it were not for Poland, the existence of the tribe of Israel would have been unbearable".

    Poland should be given credit for taking in Jews when most countries kicked Jews out. Poland should not always be criticized for perceived infractions against Jews. If Poland was as "anti-semitic" as some Jewish nationalists claim, Jews would have to be crazy to CHOOSE to live in Poland for most of their existence.

  3. "There was much collaboration with the Nazis, and the resistance did little to protect Jews until 1942, reflecting the pervasive anti-Semitism that infected the country before the German invasion in 1939."

    How dear you lie like this? Shame on you Jewish Press!
    I agree with Matt Kuranski. You've found a safe and comfortable land in Poland, lived here for 1000 years. Now, you spit on those who HELPED thousands of Jews. I REMIND. Helping to a Jew during 1939-1945 means DEATH FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. Despite this, a lot of people in Poland risked their lifes to help and MANY paid with death like Ulm family. http://www.ipn.gov.pl/portal/en/2/474/Exhibition_quotSamaritans_of_Markowa_The_Ulm_family__Poles_murdered_by_the_Nazis.html
    Yad Vashem gave over 6000 Polish people a medal for their actions to protect Jews, despite it was a great risk of DEATH!

    SHAME ON YOU JEWISH PRESS!

  4. "There was much collaboration with the Nazis, and the resistance did little to protect Jews until 1942, reflecting the pervasive anti-Semitism that infected the country before the German invasion in 1939."

    How dare you LIE like that?

    I agree with Matt Kuranski. You, Jews, had found a safe and comfortable land in Poland, lived here for 1000 years. Now, you spit on those who HELPED thousands of Jews. I REMIND. Helping to a Jew during 1939-1945 meant DEATH FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. Despite this, a lot of people in Poland risked their lifes to help and MANY paid with death like Ulm family. http://www.ipn.gov.pl/portal/en/2/474/Exhibition_quotSamaritans_of_Markowa_The_Ulm_family__Poles_murdered_by_the_Nazis.html
    Yad Vashem gave over 6000 Polish people a medal for their actions to protect Jews, despite it was a great risk of DEATH!

    SHAME ON YOU JEWISH PRESS!

  5. Dan Mann says:

    Why do Poles always quote a Rabbi, who died over 500 years ago, in order to prove they don't hate Jews?

    There almost isn't a country in Europe that didn't have or welcome in Jews at one point or another, and then kick them out or kill them at another point. To name an obvious few: Germany, Spain, Britain, etc.

    Yes, for many hundreds of years, Poland was more tolerant than other European countries (yet why after 1000 years of living there, were Jews still considered outsiders?)

    But let's all tell the truth -the Poles were quite enthusiastic during the Shoah about how they treated the Jews. Enough with the whitewashing. Poles weren't innocent victims you want to make yourselves out to be.

    Were there exceptions sure? But Polish anti-semitism had been growing for 250 years prior to the Shoah.

    And 3 million Polish Jews being killed couldn't have happened without the ACTIVE assistance of their Polish neighbors.

  6. Dan Mann says:

    1935: Unoccupied Poland introduces the Madagascar Plan – to relocate 3 million of its Jews out of Poland.
    1937: Unoccupied Poland passes legislation restricting Kosher slaughter.
    1937: In Unoccupied Poland, no Jews allowed in the Polish Medical Association
    1938: Unoccupied Poland, Polish legislation passes fobidding Jews to be lawyers
    1938: Unoccupied Poland, nNo Jews allowed to be part of Bank Polski

  7. Yori Yanover says:

    "a lot of people in Poland risked their lifes to help".

    There were 3.3 million Jews living in Poland before the war. Anti-Semitic policies were already in place since 1936, with Jews excluded from public parks, and often blocked from attending university.

    Some 3 million Polish Jews, including my father's entire family, were murdered. That's 90% of Polish Jews.

    To date, 6,266 Poles have been awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations by Yad VaShem.

    Out of a nation of more than 10 million Polish gentiles, that's nothing to be proud of. After 1000 years you collaborated with the worst human beasts, rounded us up, turned us in, murdered us in broad daylight.

    The kind of revenge you deserve cannot come from man. Only God can avenge us. And I pray every day that He will.

  8. danmann says:

    Talk about a perfect example of Polish anti-semitism.

  9. Yori Yanover says:

    Joanna Pietruszewski –

    It’s amazing, but the Poles actually consider themselves the victims in this story. Anti-Semitism was almost the state religion in Poland. Indeed, after the war, when a few Jewish survivors returned to their homes, Poland was the one place in the world where they encounters pogroms — after the Nazi surrender.

    You can revise history all you want. I had my father, and he never forgave you. After 1000 years as neighbors you turned us in like so many dogs. You spat on us when the Germans put us on the death trains. You eagerly enlisted as guards in concentration camps. You pointed us out when we tried to pass as gentiles.

    May God avenge our suffering in the hands of Polish, Ukranian, Lithuanian, Latvian murderers. Our own revenge is that we are thriving in our country, doing God’s work, trying our best to recover from our Polish trauma.

    You were not the only ones, but you were the ones we had the right to count on. Six thousand among you risked their lives to save Jews. Out of what, 11 million?

    Pathetic.

  10. I find it interesting, even today, the way the Israeli/Jew is addressed, is that they did not take 'root' in any country in which they Sojourned, always of a 'temporary' existence (I presume, from study, because the Jew was/is/and always will have but one home, Israel, as described to Moshe, by G__d).
    What I do see, in much of the argument/discussion, is, perhaps, a minor misunderstanding between what was said, and what was meant. The term 'Polish' death camps, indicates the geographical location (and primary victim), not ownership. IMO, the President said rightly (much as I dislike admitting, not being of his ilk). He, who has eyes to see, and ears to hear, knows the Death camp ownership was of Germany (ahem, also, not all Germans knew of the Death camps (one of my College Professors, German, spent three years in a German camp, for his family helping Jews escape from Germany, so, 'some' knew, and 'some' helped)).
    Are we all so brilliant, only the other person cannot speak properly? Please mentally use the words, 'some,' or 'many,' when you read a statement, to retain proximity to context. Example: 'Jews are religious,' does not mean 'All,' but in reality 'some,' or 'many' are. Not 'all' are, nor is 'all' not, religious.

  11. Hatred toward Poles spread on sites like this one is truly distrurbing. I think Jews should get their act together and stop doing to Poles what they claim others are doing to them. Jews demonstrate poor knowledge of history, other than their own, lack of any empathy for the Polish victims of Nazi Germans and the Soviets, and complete lack of remorse for Jewish contributions to crimes committed on Poles by the Soviets during WWII and after the war in socialist Poland. I also want to see a historic analysis by competent scholars on Jewish separatist and anti-Polish activities at the time of Polish struggle for freedom for150 years before WWII. Certain little known historical facts indicate that many Jews never really cared about Poland and never intended to assimilate. Many of them wanted Polish territories so that they could create their promissed land. They considered Poles to be primitive and inferior.

  12. Wieslawa Niziol says:

    Collaborated ??? Your hatred blinds you terribly ! This post should be removed. Jews were not forbidden from public space in prewar Poland and there quotas instituted by some universities were not legal. This was at the time when a country like US with almost no Jewish population had similar quotas and legal discrimination in the form of racist immigration law of 1924. A bit of perspective would help !

    As for the war: my family tried to collaborate as hard as they could since we are the scum of the earth (we Poles) but, alas, Hitler sent my mother's family to Auschwitz and my father's to Siberia. That together with all their neighbours including their Jewish neigbours. We were all just damn busy being murdered but if not for that tiny obstacle we would have gladly collaborated. I am awaiting the revange I deserve from your God !

  13. Yori Yanover says:

    “Not all Polish people were brave and honorable, but please show me one nation were everybody is brave and honorable!”

    Bulgaria, which had a prewar Jewish population of 48,000, had some 49,000 after the war.

    The Balkan land, a wartime ally of Nazi Germany, refused to surrender its Jews to death camp deportations.

    To stave off German pressure to turn over Bulgarian Jews, King Boris in 1943 ordered the Jews deported to the interior of the country, where nearly 20,000 lived in cramped quarters and many men were put into forced labor.

    But they were not sent to death camps.

    In many other countries the Germans encountered at least some resistance in their attempts to round up the Jews.

    You know the reason why the Germans chose Poland over other occupied countries for their death camp? Because they knew they would receive enthusiastic support from the Poles.

    Let’s say that you’re right, and the real number of righteous gentiles who saved Jews was more than 6000. Even if it were double that — out of 11 million Polish gentiles? seriously?

  14. I am a granddaughter of a brave polish man who saved a Jew from Auschwitz, he didn't do it for money, because this Jewish man had only camp clothes and a metal spoon, but my grandfather risked his life and his entire family to save that man, just because this man asked him for help. If my grandfather was caught I wouldn't be born, my mother, my aunts and uncles, my cousins and my precious son wouldn't be on this Earth, there is so many families like mine, who wouldn't be here or who are not here because they were killed by GERMANS for helping Jews. Not all Polish people were brave and honorable, but please show me one nation were everybody is brave and honorable! Poland was the only country where for helping Jews Germans would kill even infants and still there was so many polish families that risked everything. I would like to see if you Yori Yanover would risk your kids life for some Polish man? Would you?
    And just so you know my grandfather never got title of Righteous among the Nations, he never even tried to get it, because he never did it for a title. NON of this people did it for a title, they did it because they believed "we are the children of the same God"! But I guess you don't think so dear Yori.

  15. Stefan Komar says:

    There were anti Jewish policies everywhere including the US. Poland after WW 1 took in 500,000 russian Jews and gave them automatic citizenship, meanwhile the US could not accept a boatload fleeing the German Nazis. The proper reference to the camps is German Nazi death camp in occupied Poland or Nazi death camp in German occupied Poland. Do not forget the collaboration of Jews in the Eastern parts of Poland under Soviet occupation in the brutal murders and deportations of mostly women, children and elderly ethnic Polish and pro Polish Jews. This occurred before the German Nazis implemented the final solution.

  16. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    Seriously, must each and every US President suffer from Foot-in-the-Mouth disease? Pr. Obama should present his excuses immediately for this undeserved slight to the Polish people.

  17. Unfortunately, this appears to be the general paradigm of Diaspora. The initial appeal of Jewry was their commercial acumen. From Egypt to Germany, the Jews were at first venerated and then transformed into a scapegoat. Persecution invariably followed. Although Poland provided a temporary respite, I'm afraid Matt I cannot agree with your opinion. When the Nazis established the Death camps in Poland, they were aware that willing collaborators formed the cross section of society. Time does not dull the pain or this heinous crime.

  18. Actually they were German camps.

  19. As a survivor and blood related to Poles, mine uncle, who saved me and his future wife, was a Christian Polack, I agree that there were many Poles who saved Jews.
    endangering their lives and their families.We will never forget them or be able to honor properly.Only a part of them were rewarded.
    in any form.These brave people were a tiny minority of Polish people.Mine uncle, RIP, belonged to the forgoten Polish saviors.

  20. And why should Poles help Jews back then? To get killed by Germans?
    It is easy to say what we should have done now in your home save and sound. I would never do any harm to Jews (i have no reason to do so) but i would never ever risk my life to save them if someone would kill me for that. I don't think that not risking your own life for someone is wrong.

  21. Matt Kuranski says:

    Harvey, Yes I know you believe that Nazis established death camps in Poland, not because of logistical reasons (MOST JEWS lived in Poland) but because "Nazis were aware that willing collaborators formed the cross section of society". That's what you have been told by anti-Polish newspapers like the "Jewish Press" which is then parrotted by other anti-Polish newspapers like the New York Times. The same source of the anti-Polish slur "Polish Death Camps".

    Lets say for arguments sake that Polish people are the horrible anti-semites you say they are……then that means Jews have to be stupid, crazy, insane or just plane masochistic for CHOOSING to live in Poland for 900 years. Even the viciously hateful anti-Polish "Jewish Press" newspaper has acknowledged that Jewish culture thrived in Poland for hundreds of years. So how did that happen if most Poles are horrible terrible anti-semites?

    You Jews are being played by your Jewish leaders to HATE and find fault with Poland. They are part of what professor Norman Finkelstein says is the Holocaust Industry. The New York Times is a big part of it.

    Holocaust Industry according to Professor Norman Finkelstein
    How Holocaust Industry Jews like Elie Wiesel and editors of Jewish supremacist newspaper like the New York Times get rich by exaggerating the Holocaust and attacking nations like Poland.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_Industry
    Professor Norman Finkelstein talks about hideous behavior of Jewish Holocaust Industry

    “The Painted Bird” was written by Holocaust Industrialist Polish Jew Jerzy Kosinski who was saved by a Polish Christian family that risked their lives to save him from the Nazis. How does this Polish Jew Kosinski….. saved by Polish Christians….. REWARD and PORTRAY his Polish Christian saviors in his book? He PORTRAYS THEM AS VICIOUS BRUTAL ANTI-SEMITES!

  22. Yori Yanover says:

    Matt Kuranski — While you’re at it, why not add the condemnation of Judean and Israelite Jews by the biblical prophets?

    The truth is, of course, that Jewish aid to gentiles in need has been recorded throughout history. Arab baby mortality in Israel, for instance, is the lowest in the Middle East. It used to be the lowest in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza as well, until 1992. Why? Because until that year those Arabs, too, benefited from Israeli medicine and from the Israeli safety net which included all 7 to 9 million people living here.

    You’ll find Jews in every charitable organization, evry humane effort on the planet. I don’t need to tout it, you know it. But that won’t make a difference to you, because you are facing a national image in the mirror which you dislike, and none of the things I say will make you look pretty.

    As to revenge — it’s not mine, it’s the Lord’s. All I can do is pray for it.

  23. Matt Kuranski says:

    By your logic Yori, Jews deserve REVENGE to for all of the atrocities Stalinist Jews did to non-Jews especially Poles. Not to mention all the horrible things Jews have done to Palestinians.

    Yori Yanover the 6,266 Poles (that we know of) who saved Jews from the Nazis performed MIRACLES since they were risking their lives and the lives of their families to save Jews. You sound like you really don't know much about Poland when you talk about Poland back then having just over 10 million people. It was about 30 million people. So that says a lot about your credibility. But according to you, you want virtually all of the 30 million Poles to peform MIRACLES. Sorry but only Gods can do that. For you to insinuate that all or most Poles somehow should of had godlike or superhuman powers to save Jews (or anyone) just goes to show what an ethno-centric crazy person you are.

    When have Jews ever saved Palestinian lives or anybody elses life?

    When Soviets were killing Poles, did just ONE Soviet Jew save the life of a Pole being killed?? Is there just ONE example of a Jew saving a Pole at Katyn or any where else??

    As for Jews getting revenge on the Poles…..you Jews have already done a good job of it by all of your vicious LIES and SLANDER against Polish people pushed by Hollywood Jews, TV networks and anti-Polish hate newspapers like the New York Times. For the past 4 decades Polish people were smeared with Nazi German subhuman intelligence jokes that Hollywood/TV Jews RENAMED as "Polish jokes" and INTRODUCED into the US that created a wave of anti-Polish hatred in America while your media portrayed all of you Jews as wonderful intelligent saints. When you couldn't push the Nazi anti-Polish joke/slurs anymore……your Holocaust Industry started to push the big LIES about "Polish Death Camps".

    Jewish supremacists like you like to think you are all nobel and angelic. You are not!

    Here is what JEWISH Historians have said about the bad behavior of Jews.

    Stalin’s Jews and Anti-Polish Jews who gleefully help the Soviets exterminate Poles & other Slavs.

    According to Jewish Historians, Polish Jews gleefully welcome and help Soviet invaders destroy Polish people.

    http://www.electronicmuseum.ca/Poland-WW2/ethnic_minorities_occupation/jews_2.html

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

    Israeli newspaper Maariv July 21, 1971
    Polish Jew Azraham Wydra told Maariv Israeli newspaper how he was told by Soviet officer Jews Soviet Lt. Alexander Suslov and Soviet Major Joshua Sorokin how they gleefully participated in “Killing the Polacks with their bear hands” with other Soviets at the Katyn Massacre.

    Holocaust Industry according to Professor Norman Finkelstein
    How Holocaust Industry Jews like Elie Wiesel and editors of Jewish supremacist newspaper like the New York Times get rich by exaggerating the Holocaust and attacking nations like Poland.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_Industry
    Professor Norman Finkelstein talks about hideous behavior of Jewish Holocaust Industry

    Holocaust Industry according to Professor Norman Finkelstein
    How Holocaust Industry Jews like Elie Wiesel and editors of Jewish supremacist newspaper like the New York Times get rich by exaggerating the Holocaust and attacking nations like Poland.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_Industry
    Professor Norman Finkelstein talks about hideous behavior of Jewish Holocaust Industry

    “The Painted Bird” was written by Holocaust Industrialist Polish Jew “Jerzy Kosinski” who was saved by a Polish Christian family that risked their lives to save him from the Nazis. How does this Polish Jew Kosinski….. saved by Polish Christians….. REWARD and PORTRAY his Polish Christian saviors in his book? He PORTRAYS THEM AS VICIOUS BRUTAL ANTI-SEMITES!

  24. DantheMan says:

    oooh look mommy, it’s a real live polish anti-semite. where did they find it?

  25. Harvey says:

    Matt, a previous post delineates Polish legislation in the 1930′s. It is evident that this cannot be classified as pro-Jewish:

    1935: Unoccupied Poland introduces the Madagascar Plan – to relocate 3 million of its Jews out of Poland.
    1937: Unoccupied Poland passes legislation restricting Kosher slaughter.
    1937: In Unoccupied Poland, no Jews allowed in the Polish Medical Association
    1938: Unoccupied Poland, Polish legislation passes forbidding Jews to be lawyers
    1938: Unoccupied Poland, No Jews allowed to be part of Bank Polski

    So to begin with the government, rural populace, medical, legal and financial professions would have been prejudiced.
    This served as a preamble to the Nazi invasion. From the Jewish perspective it did not bode well. The wider Polish community would have revised its thinking towards Jewry.

    Now let us focus on the sporting world – a field close to your heart. Currently, Poland is co- hosting the European Football Championships. A documentary by the BBC indicated that racism and wanton hooliganism are rife amongst supporters. White supremacists shout anti-semitic invective from the terraces. Pennants with celtic crosses are apparent in stadiums.

    We could simply put this own to plain old-fashioned ignorance – and unemployed youths looking to find a raison d’etre. But what is most shocking is that the authorities do very little to deter it – an indirect acceptance. Additionally, there is no smoke without fire. When someone hurls abuse or a monkey chant at a player he has been informed by other socialising agents whether the media, his parents, peers or the authorities. All that remains is to deduce which.

  26. Matt, a previous post delineates Polish legislation in the 1930's. It is evident that this cannot be classified as pro-Jewish:

    1935: Unoccupied Poland introduces the Madagascar Plan – to relocate 3 million of its Jews out of Poland.
    1937: Unoccupied Poland passes legislation restricting Kosher slaughter.
    1937: In Unoccupied Poland, no Jews allowed in the Polish Medical Association
    1938: Unoccupied Poland, Polish legislation passes forbidding Jews to be lawyers
    1938: Unoccupied Poland, No Jews allowed to be part of Bank Polski

    So to begin with the government, rural populace, medical, legal and financial professions would have been prejudiced.
    This served as a preamble to the Nazi invasion. From the Jewish perspective it did not bode well. The wider Polish community would have revised its thinking towards Jewry.

    Now let us focus on the sporting world – a field close to your heart. Currently, Poland is co- hosting the European Football Championships. A documentary by the BBC indicated that racism and wanton hooliganism are rife amongst supporters. White supremacists shout anti-semitic invective from the terraces. Pennants with celtic crosses are apparent in stadiums.

    We could simply put this own to plain old-fashioned ignorance – and unemployed youths looking to find a raison d'etre. But what is most shocking is that the authorities do very little to deter it – an indirect acceptance. Additionally, there is no smoke without fire. When someone hurls abuse or a monkey chant at a player he has been informed by other socialising agents whether the media, his parents, peers or the authorities. All that remains is to deduce which.

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