Can the issue of President Obama’s gaffe over ‘Polish Death Camps’ now be declared closed? According to this news item from Poland’s Dziennik, after receiving a letter from President Obama expressing ‘regret’ for the error, President Bronislaw Komorowski, while advising critics in Poland’s National Assembly to write to their U.S. counterparts if they wish, said that for his part, President Obama’s expression of regret is a positive step that should be seized upon to end, for once and for all, painful misperceptions about Poland.
The long Dziennik news item, which is an account of a press conference given by the Polish president to respond to Obama’s letter, starts out this way:
“I welcome the very quick response to my letter from Mr. Obama. I also welcome the U.S. president’s expression of grief and regret for the mistake he inadvertently made, without – in my opinion – any bad intentions,” President Bronis?aw Komorowski said.
In his letter to the Polish president, Obama wrote that he regretted the error and agreed that “this moment is an opportunity to ensure that this and future generations know the truth.”
Komorowski said that the U.S. president’s letter is a tribute both to Mr. Karski, as well as to the sacrificial devotion of Poles during the Second World War, who fought on every front and in the face of tyranny, attempted to save Jews in the in the occupied country.
“It is important that in his letter the president clearly asserted that there were no Polish death camps, and he expressed his support for measures aimed at eradicating painful phrases like this from the public dialogue,” said Komorowski.
From Obama’s letter, Komorowski quoted, “There simply were no Polish death camps. The nerve centers of murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Treblinka and elsewhere in occupied Poland were built and operated by the Nazi regime.”
Mr. Komorowski said that the events of recent days and the American president’s letter may signify a turning point in the struggle for historical truth. “With this letter, Poland has gained an important ally in its struggle against the misleading, wrongful and for us, painful term, ‘Polish death camps,’” Komorowski said.
President Komorowski declared himself convinced that Polish authorities and institutions, “with a special emphasis on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be able to take good advantage of the U.S. president’s statement in furthering the struggle to eradicate confusing, painful and false expressions used in public discourse outside Poland.”
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