WASHINGTON, May 30, 2012 – President Obama simply made an error when he called the Nazi death camps in Poland “Polish death camps,” according to the White House. A simple slip of the tongue; an omission, an understandable gaffe.
Liberal media will excuse it away. The White House will offer platitudes and a self-deprecating “mea culpa.”
But it is not understandable or excusable.
This is not the first time our president has failed in his responsibility to be aware of where, or what he is talking about, or even when he is talking (See video of his gaffe with the Queen of England).
Anyone even slightly aware of the brutality of Nazi Germany during World War II, or the inhumane, unlivable lives of the Polish Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, would know that the error President Obama made was more much more significant than a simple, presidential slip of the tongue.
It was inexcusable:
“The White House said the president misspoke Tuesday in bestowing the Medal of Freedom posthumously on Jan Kozielewski, alias Karski, a Polish emissary who in 1943 alerted allied leaders to mass killing of Jews. In order to gather first-hand evidence he risked his life and was secretly smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto and a death camp.” (AP Press)
Nazi Germany was indiscriminate in its rampage of slaughter and mayhem, and while all of Europe suffered, none were so devastated as the Polish Jews.
Marching into Warsaw, the Nazi’s created the Getto Warszawskie, or the Warsaw Ghetto. More than 400,000 Jews lived in 1.3 square miles, and more than 250,000 were sent to their deaths at Treblinka while many tens of thousands of others died in the Ghetto.
One story of the Warsaw Ghetto is told in the Academy Award winning movie (2003 – Best Actor, Best Director, Best Writing) The Pianist, in which director Roman Polanski tells the true story of Polish master pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman’s struggle to survive the Ghetto.
Szpilman escapes deportation to the death camps even as his family is sent to their certain deaths. He instead is sent to a German labor compound. The film offers a realistic witness to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 and the deaths of the Polish Jews who were murdered at the hands of Nazi Germany and in the Nazi death camps. Not the Polish death camps.
Maybe President Obama should have a private screening so that he remembers who “owned” the camps.
Polish officials are extremely critical of the presidential error.
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said that “what should have been a solemn awards ceremony was overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence.”
On the Polish Embassy Website, Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk writes:
“The words uttered yesterday by the President of the United States Barack Obama concerning “Polish death camps” touched all Poles. We always react in the same way when ignorance, or lack of knowledge, bad intentions lead to such a distortion of history, so painful for us here in Poland, in a country which suffered like no other in Europe during World War II.”
Prime Minister Tusk concludes:
“We take note of these words, but it seems that it would be even more important for the United States than for Poland to end this with class. That is how one acts with regard to tried-and-tested friends, but this is also how one acts in your own, well defined interest. I believe our allies are capable of such behavior.” (Full text may be seen in documents list above.)
As a person whose family roots are in Prague and whose name can still be seen in the square (though I do not think there is a family relationship), whose husband’s family name ends in “ski” and whose son carries a proud, family, and very Polish, name, I ask:
How do you confuse an American President? Ask him to find the history book in the corner of the Oval Office.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.