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Term 'Polish camps' is 'geographically correct', says American lawyer

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 06.06.2012 09:20
An American lawyer, present when President Obama uttered the “Polish camps” gaffe last week, says that using the term “Polish camps” when referring to Auschwitz or Treblinka is “geographically correct”.
Photo: cc/wikipediaPhoto: cc/wikipedia


“Let's be clear. Calling Auschwitz, Treblinka and Majdanek "Polish" camps is geographically accurate. So is calling Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and Buchenwald "German" camps, or referring to Mauthausen as an "Austrian" camp,” writes lawyer Menachem Rosensaft in the Huffington Post, who was present when President Barack Obama used the term “Polish camps” at an ceremony posthumously awarding WW II Polish hero Jan Karski the Medal of Freedom in Washington on 29 May.

While Rosensaft admits that the Polish government has a “valid historiographical point” complaining about the use of the term “Polish camps”, he writes that “any objective observers reading the Polish prime minister's and foreign minister's overreactions to an innocent phraseological error -- and that is all it was -- by President Obama could only have been left scratching their heads in amazement.”

Prime Minister Donald Tusk called Obama's use of the term “a distortion of history” brought on by “ignorance”; Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said Obama was guilty of “ignorance and incompetence”.

President Obama has since apologised for the using the term.

The Polish Foreign Ministry has led a campaign against the use of the term “Polish camps” being used in US and other media, with outlets such as the New York Times changing their style sheet to ban the term from being used by journalists as a consequence. (pg)

tags: polish camps
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