Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Alex Storozynski penned a passionate piece about why it’s dangerous to play fast and loose when identifying who exactly was responsible for what during World War II. He is responding to several recent incidents in which mainstream media outlets (including NY Times, WSJ, LA Times) referred to Nazi concentration camps as “Polish”:
“The Nazi concentration camps were built by Germans, run by Germans, and guarded by Germans. The victims of those camps were Polish. Newspaper editors justify use of the term “Polish concentration camp” as geographical shorthand for “a German concentration camp in occupied Poland.” But this shorthand is Orwellian doublespeak that turns victim into perpetrator and distorts history. It perpetuates ignorance about the Holocaust and gives impressionable readers the idea that Poles built the camps. The Auschwitz killing factory was a product of German engineering, and both Polish Jews and Catholics were murdered there.
While there were Poles who committed atrocities against Jews during and after World War II, the Polish government convicted and executed those who killed Jews. The Polish underground established the Council to Aid Jews, Zegota, which rescued thousands of Jews. Irena Sendler saved 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto. Jan Karski sneaked through enemy lines to beg Churchill & Roosevelt to stop the Holocaust. They did nothing. Polish Army Captain Witold Pilecki volunteered to be arrested by the Germans and sent to Auschwitz to try to organize a prison break. The Germans executed thousands of Poles who tried to save Jews. The phrase “Polish concentration camp” desecrates their memory.”
Read the full story at the Huffington Post.