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Yet another victory in anti 'Polish concentration camps' campaign

Administrator Administrator 22.03.2011 11:45
The New York Times has become the latest media outlet in the US to order its journalists to refrain from using the phrase “Polish death/concentration camps” when referring to WW II German Nazi death camps in Poland.


Eileen M. Murphy, Vice President of Corporate Communications at the NYT has written to the Kosciuszko Foundation in the US – which has led the campaign against the use of what is seen in Poland as insulting and historically revisionist language – to inform them that editors have been instructed not to use the offensive terms

“After further discussions of the concerns raised by you and others, Times editors have decided to add an entry to the newsroom's stylebook specifically cautioning journalists to avoid misleading phrases like "Polish concentration camp," Eileen M. Murphy writes in a letter to Kosciuszko Foundation president Alex Storozynski.

The misuse of language by NYT journalists reached obsurd proportions last week when the New York Times has mistakenly placed the Dachau Nazi concentration camp in Poland (it was actually in Germany).

In last Sunday’s edition of the New York Times Magazine, an article entitled “Yasir Qadhi: An American Cleric” included a photograph which was erroneously labelled as “Qadhi and other American Muslim clerics pray at the Dachau concentration camp in Poland last August.”

The letter from the NYT to the Kosciuszko Foundation continues: “As we have already pointed out, editors immediately took steps to correct the erroneous references to Dachau in an online caption over the weekend. We also published a correction about the phrase "Polish concentration camp" in an obituary last fall. We understand the great sensitivity of this topic and regret that any such lapses have occurred,” the letter continues.

“But we would like to reiterate that such instances, however unfortunate, are simply mistakes, and it is wrong to suggest that they reflect any malice or deliberate distortion.”

“Still, to demonstrate our shared concern over this issue, we will add a note on this point to the stylebook and take extra care to try to avoid any further errors,” concludes the NYT letter.


Last year the Kosciuszko Foundation launched an online petition to force media outlets to refrain from using “Polish camps” in articles about camps in Nazi occupied Poland during WW II. The petition has been signed by President Bronislaw Komorowski, former president Lech Walesa, Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski and many other prominent Poles in the US and elsewhere.

In November the Wall Street Journal finally relented and ordered journalists to refer to Auschwitz and Treblinka as ‘Nazi death camps’ and not ‘Polish camps’.

The Wall Street Journal’s Style and Substance editor, Paul R. Martin made an official entry into the Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Business Style and Usage, sazingŁ"Concentrate on this: There were no Polish concentration camps in World War II. Auschwitz and other such camps in Polish territory were operated by German Nazis." (pg)

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