Our Mothers, Our Fathers: ZDF
The first episode of the three-part mini-series Our Mothers, Our Fathers (Unsere Mutter, Unsere Vater), by the German public ZDF channel was broadcast on Monday evening on TVP1.
“It's something unprecedented that public television should broadcast a programme that contains lies about our past,” said Mariusz Blaszczak, head of the parliamentary party of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS).
Blaszczak described the production as “a German propaganda film” and insisted that TVP boss Juliusz Braun should leave his post.
Braun had complained about the series to his German ZDF counterpart in March, however.
However, according to TVP, the decision to screen the series in Poland was ultimately taken as “public opinion was reliant on the intermediary statements of journalists and politicians, and people were unable to formulate their own opinions on the matter.”
Law and Justice MEP Maciej Lopinski said, however: “The explanation that the drama was aired so that Poles could form their own opinion is just the same as the explanation that public television must start publishing Mein Kampf, so that Poles can form an opinion."
Our Mothers, Our Fathers, follows the destinies of five young Berliners (one of whom is Jewish) between 1941 and 1945.
When the series was screened in Germany earlier this year, Poland's ambassador in Berlin Jerzy Marganski complained about both portrayals of the Home Army (the official resistance force loyal to the government-in-exile in London) and Poles in general.
“The Polish Home Army and the majority of Poles are presented in the show as people under the influence of anti-Semitism, almost not very different from the German Nazis, and possessed by greed, which led them to commit the most heinous acts,” he argued in a the protest letter to German public TV ZDF.
ZDF responded by pointing out positive Polish characters in the film, and insisted that the series was not attempting to diminish German responsibility for war crimes.
“Not under any circumstances was it our aim to diminish historical facts, nor still German responsibility [for war crimes],” ZDF said in a statement when the programme was broadcast on German television.
The Polish Home Army had an official branch, 'Zegota', devoted to helping Jews.
However, Home Army commander General Stefan Rowecki argued in a 1941 dispatch to the London government-exile that while “almost nobody recommends emulating German methods,” nevertheless, “the overwhelmingly majority of the country is anti-semitic.” (nh/pg)