Museum directors condemn term ‘Polish death camps’

December 19, 2013 05:08

Directors of museums at Nazi extermination camp sites support efforts to eradicate the use of the term.

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Former Nazi death camp Majdanek in Lublin

Former Nazi death camp Majdanek in Lublin 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WARSAW, Poland — Directors of museums located at the sites of former Nazi death camps are protesting a Polish prosecutor’s office decision not to initiate an investigation into the phrase “Polish death camps.”

On Monday, a joint letter to the Polish attorney general and minister of justice signed by the heads of state museums at Auschwitz, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Kulmhof, Stutthof, Gross-Rosen and Majdanek said the decision not to open an investigation undermines national efforts to eradicate the use of the term.

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In October, the Warsaw prosecutor’s office refused to launch a probe into the phrase “Polish death camps” used by the German newspaper Rheinische Post in August. The request was submitted by members of the Union of Poles in Germany.

Under Polish law, publicly insulting the Polish Republic is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years. Polish prosecutors, however, have decided that the phrase “Polish death camps” is not saying that the Poles founded the camps but that they were located in Polish territory.

“We have seen many times how the lie confused young people from abroad ready to believe that these camps were created and carried out by Poland and the Poles,” the museum directors wrote. “Perpetrators triumph and victims again are humiliated. After all, Nazi propaganda was based on the belief that a lie repeated many times becomes the truth in the end.”

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