A clip published by the European Commission on the Holocaust was accompanied by describing Auschwitz as being in Poland, without any further mention as to who set up the concentration camp and how it was set up during a period when the territory was annexed by Germany. The clip includes European commissioners reading out the names of those who perished in Auschwitz.
At least on the #HolocaustMemorialDay, @EU_Commission should refrain from manipulating facts. I do not believe that any of the authors of this film are unaware that the KL Auschwitz was a German concentration camp established on territories that the Germans annexed to their… pic.twitter.com/z7E6kNgWAr
— Sławomir Dębski (@SlawomirDebski) January 28, 2024
Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski took to X platform to state that “when writing about the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, there is a need to inform that it was set up under German occupation. The European Commission’s social media post will be corrected, but it’s a shame that Poland’s European commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, did not represent Poland’s point of view.”
Pisząc o nazistowskim obozie zagłady w Auschwitz należy wskazywać, że powstał pod niemiecką okupacją. Informacja w mediach społecznościowych Komisji Europejskiej będzie doprecyzowana ale szkoda, że polski komisarz UE zawczasu nie zaprezentował polskiego punktu widzenia.
— Radosław Sikorski 🇵🇱🇪🇺 (@sikorskiradek) January 28, 2024
However, according to commercial radio RMF FM, Wojciechowski did not participate in the exercise precisely because he objected to the way Auschwitz was portrayed in the clip.
The museum in Auschwitz also reacted to the clip.
It issued a statement that “the concentration death camp Auschwitz was on occupied Polish territory, which in October 1939 was annexed directly into Germany, therefore it is inaccurate to state that the camp was on the territory of occupied Poland.”
The Auschwitz concentration & extermination camp was located in an occupied part of Polish territory that in October 1939 was annexed directly into Nazi Germany. Therefore, it’s accurate to say that the camp was located in occupied Poland. pic.twitter.com/PNjWRu1N9I
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 28, 2024
Since the material did not include any information that Auschwitz was a part of the annexed territory, describing it as a part of Poland may mislead readers into thinking that Poland was in any way co-responsible for the functioning of the German concentration camp.
“The correct term to use is German Nazi death camp in occupied Poland as it identifies the perpetrators of the crimes committed in these camps during the Second World War,” said Arkadiusz Mularczyk, an MP and former deputy foreign minister responsible for reparations issues.
The caption in the clip has now been changed to state “German Nazi death camp Auschwitz.”
EC President Ursula von der Leyen has changed the video #WeRemember, changing the text about Auschwitz.
The new text says Auschwitz was a German Nazi extermination camp.
That’s exactly what it was. Let this be the first step in correcting the extremely damaging and offending… pic.twitter.com/x4Q5C2cxrx
— Arkadiusz Mularczyk (@arekmularczyk) January 28, 2024
Former Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki noted on social media that “the European Commission has turned the day of remembrance of the Holocaust into a ’day of manipulation and fake facts’ together with a ‘day of lies about occupied Poland’.”
He called on the present Polish government to react strongly and accused Foreign Minister Sikorski of reacting inappropriately by attacking a fellow Pole, commissioner Wojciechowski, for failing to represent the Polish point of view instead of criticizing the president of the EU commission, Ursula von der Leyen.