Poland’s ambassador to Ireland has called on RTE to apologize for “completely false information” regarding a concentration camp that was made public in the national news.
In a report relating to the trial of a former Nazi concentration camp secretary, Stutthof was referred to as a “Polish concentration camp”.
Anna Sushanska, Ambassador of the Republic Poland To Ireland, that “the death camps were German Nazi concentration camps in occupied Poland”.
She said the error had caused “great distress to the Polish community in Ireland”.
In a letter to RTE Managing Director John Williams, Suchanska said she was relieved to see the reports changed on the evening news but “strongly feels the damage has been done”.
The letter reads: “In the report on the accusation of former Nazi camp minister Irmgard Fürschner of complicity in the murder of more than 10,000 people in the Stutthof concentration camp, RTE repeatedly referred to Stutthof as a ‘Polish concentration camp’ or ‘a concentration camp in Poland’.”
“This information is completely wrong, because the death camps were German Nazi concentration camps in occupied Poland. Germany occupied Poland at a time when many Nazi German concentration and extermination camps were running on its territory.
“This repeated error is causing great distress to the Polish community in Ireland, as well as to the citizens of Poland.
“The Second World War devastated my country and almost everyone lost a loved one in the war fought on the side of the Allies. In fact, many of them perished in Nazi German death camps.
“I was relieved to see the reports changed on the evening news, but I feel very strongly that the damage has been done.
“I therefore ask you to immediately include a correction in today’s RTÉ news programs and to ensure that the misused terms do not mislead viewers.
“I will gladly meet you and/or your colleagues to discuss the legacy of World War II and its implications for Poland’s past and present.
“I sincerely hope that such serious mistakes will not be made in the future by Irish National Radio.”
Unification leader Peadar Tóibín TD also joined calls on RTE News to issue an apology to the Polish community.
Deputy Toiben said: “Last night RTE news presented a report on Irmgard Forchner, a 96-year-old woman who was to appear in a court near Hamburg in connection with a charge of complicity in the murders of more than 10,000 people dating back to the time she was a camp secretary. Nazi arrest.
“Ms. Forchner failed to appear at the hearing. During the news report by RTE, a series of remarks were made that caused great alarm to the Polish community, namely that the concentration camp in question – Stuttow – was a ‘Polish concentration camp’.
“This is inaccurate information, since the concentration camp in question was a German Nazi concentration camp, operating in Poland at a time when Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany.”
“This was a huge mistake made by RTE, and it has caused great suffering to the Polish people who live in Ireland and Poland.
“The diplomatic sensitivity here is very disturbing, and simply cannot be forgotten under the rug.”
RTE has been contacted for comment.
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