The White House on Tuesday expressed regret after Poland took offense at US President Barack Obama's use of the term "Polish Death Camps" while awarding a posthumous Medal of Freedom to Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski.
"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."
US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor stated that Obama "misspoke" by referring to "Polish death camps" rather than "Nazi death camps" inside Poland.
Vietor's statement came after Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski tweeted that Obama "will apologize for this outrageous error," ascribing it to "ignorance and incompetence," according to BuzzFeed. Poles insist on the term "Nazi death camps" to describe facilities such as Auschwitz and Sobibor.
"We regret this misstatement, which should not detract from the clear intention to honor Mr. Karski and those brave citizens who stood on the side of human dignity in the face of tyranny," he said.
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