“Polish Concentration Camps”

May 30 2012 @ 5:49pm

The NYT made the same adjectival mistake a year and a bit ago – and it led to a correction to the stylebook. But there is also, to my mind, a bit of denial about Polish anti-Semitism under the Nazis. To take one notorious example: the Jedwabne pogrom. A reader adds:

My grandfather is a Holocaust survivor. He was born and raised in Poland. To this day, he harbors the most resentment towards his “fellow” Poles for turning his family over to the Nazis. He refuses to even identify himself as Polish. Out of a family larger than 10, only he, a brother, and a sister survived.

The death camps in Poland were just as much Polish in their aiding and abetting, as much as they were German in fact. What Obama said did not embarrass me, even it was a slip. Poland, for far too long, has swept these atrocities under the rug. I point to the book by Jan Gross, “Fear: Poland and Anti-semitism after Auschwitz“.

Interesting. But all this is really about a dumb error by a speech writer who meant no harm, and in fact, meant to honor a great Polish hero. Perspective please. This isn’t Bitburg.