Obama 'regrets' erroneous 'Polish death camp': letter

US President Barack Obama has expressed "regret" at what he called his inadvertent use of the erroneous term "Polish death camp", in a personal letter to his Polish counterpart made public Friday.

"I regret the error and agree that this moment is an opportunity to ensure that this and future generations know the truth," Obama wrote to Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski in the letter dated May 31.

Obama on Tuesday labeled a World War II Nazi German facility used to process Jews for extermination a "Polish death camp." The White House later said the president misspoke and expressed "regret".

Polish leaders termed the error "hurtful" and said it required more than a mere expression of regret.

The linguistic faux pas overshadowed Obama's posthumous award of the highest US civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Jan Karski, a Polish underground officer who provided the Allies with early eyewitness accounts of Nazi Germany's genocide against European Jews.

Making the letter public Friday, Komorowski -- who on Wednesday publicly urged Obama to cooperate in "correcting this unfortunate error" -- said he was satisfied with the "rapid" expression of regret by "our important ally and good friend."

Obama specified "there were simply no Polish death camps" in the letter to Komorowski.

He admitted to "inadvertently" using the phrase "rather than 'a Nazi death camp in German-occupied Poland.'"

"The killing centres at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Treblinka, and elsewhere in occupied Poland were built and operated by the Nazi regime. In contrast, many Poles risked their lives -- and gave their lives -- to save Jews from the Holocaust," Obama wrote.

"The Polish people suffered terribly under the brutal Nazi occupation during World War II," he noted.

"In pursuit of destroying the Polish nation and Polish culture and extermination European Jewry, the Nazi killed some six million Polish citizens, including three million Polish Jews during the Holocaust," he added.

Poland's government keenly watches the global media for descriptions of former Nazi German death camps as "Polish" because it says the term -- even if used simply as a geographical indicator -- can give the impression that Poland bore responsibility for the Holocaust.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon
    Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon

    By Matt Siegel CANBERRA (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia's deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The search of a rugged …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options