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Poles petition against Norway's ruling on "Polish death camps"

PR dla Zagranicy
Alicja Baczyńska 03.12.2015 10:22
Thousands of online letters of protest have been flowing in to the Norwegian Press Complaints Commission over its recent decision permitting the use of the phrase in reference to WWII Nazi death camps in occupied Poland.
Photo: Flickr/Adam TasPhoto: Flickr/Adam Tas

In late November, the commission deemed the expression "Polish death camps", included in a newspaper review of wartime drama The Reader, in line with standards of journalism. Daily Avisa Sor-Trondelag used the phrase in one of its issues released in August to describe the Nazi Auschwitz death camp.

The mass letter-writing campaign is targeted against what the authors consider an "outrageous and scandalous" ruling.

In an effort to disperse controversy, the Norwegian media watchdog is to translate the justification of its verdict into English and Polish on Thursday.

The assembly insists it did not breach standards of journalism as the phrase indicated that the complex was situated in Poland, adding that a similar mental shortcut is often applied to Nazi-based camps situated in Norway.

The commission did, however, admit that the staff of daily Avisa Sor-Trondelag, who printed the film review, could have chosen a more precise description of the Auschwitz death camp.

"We do not accept such an interpretation," said Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Witold Waszczykowski in response to the November ruling, pointing to another more apt phrase to be used, the UNESCO-adopted definition of Auschwitz as "Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp."

Polish authorities have for years been engaged in efforts to wipe out the use of the term "Polish death camps" in the media and by public figures, as a phrase distorting history and rendering Poles complicit in the mass killing of European Jews during World War II. (aba/rk)

Source: PAP

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