Obama criticized by Polish prime minister after ‘death camp’ gaffe
President Barack Obama was the target of some heavy Polish criticism after he referenced “Polish death camps” in a ceremony honoring a resistance fighter during World War II.
“When someone says ‘Polish death camps,’ it is as if there were no Nazis, no German responsibility, as if there was no Hitler,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk explained. “That is why our Polish sensitivity in these situations is so much more than just simply a feeling of national pride.”
The president used the “factually incorrect slur” while honoring Jan Karski with the Medal of Freedom at a high profile White House ceremony Tuesday night. Karski was a resistance fighter against the Nazi regime in Poland during World War II.
The White House tried to mask the president’s gaffe by indicating that the president just misspoke and was aware that death camps were located in Poland, but run by the Nazis. Though Tusk is accepting of this explanation, he seeks a “stronger, more pointed reaction” to Obama’s public inability to distinguish between the Nazi perpetrator and a place of Nazi occupation.
“We always react in the same way when ignorance, 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,” Tusk defends.