Obama ‘Polish Death Camp’ oops moment


It was supposed to be a posthumous recognition of a Polish resistance fighter, Jan Karski. It ended with President Obama angering the Polish populace.
The White House apologized yesterday after Obama employed the phrase ‘Polish death camp,’ which many Poles took exception to, during the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony:

During the ceremony, Obama said of Karski, "Fluent in four languages, possessed of a photographic memory, Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action.

Poles insist on the term "Nazi death camps" to describe facilities such as Auschwitz and Sobibor.

 For those keeping track, JTA has used the same phrase 13 times since 1944.

To our credit, though, twice as many articles referencing "death camps" appear with the qualifying phrase "occupied Poland," the earliest dating back to 1943.

Out of 684 uses of the phrase "death camps," we leave to our readers to come to their own conclusions about the matter.

Recommended from JTA