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.

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.

  • Fight vs online libel goes to the UNHCR Ederic Eder, Yahoo! Southeast Asia - The Inbox
    Fight vs online libel goes to the UNHCR

    Commentary By Ellen T. Tordesillas Last Tuesday, while in Baguio City for their summer session, the Supreme Court denied all the Motions for Reconsideration on Online Libel which it upheld in its Feb. 18, 2014 decision. It will be recalled … Continue reading → …

  • Book chronicles efforts for PWD-friendly polls VERA Files - The Inbox
    Book chronicles efforts for PWD-friendly polls

    By Melissa Luz Lopez, VERA Files A lot have been done but much still need to be done for a hassle-free  participation of  Persons with Disabilities in elections,according to a book published by The Asia Foundation (TAF) and supported by … Continue reading → …

  • The other side of Palawan Ellen Tordesillas, Contributor - The Inbox
    The other side of Palawan

    By Ellen T. Tordesillas Mention Palawan and what comes to mind are Underground River and El Nido in the northern side of this richly-blessed province from its capital, Puerto Princesa. Three weeks ago, we went to the southern side- in … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options