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German TV defends depiction of WWII Polish anti-semites

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 28.03.2013 15:26
German television station ZDF has defended the inclusion of anti-semitic Poles in a three-part World War II drama following complaints from Poland's ambassador in Berlin.

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“Not under any circumstances was it our aim to diminish historical facts, nor still German responsibility [for war crimes],” the ZDF public broadcaster says in a statement.

Our Mothers, Our Fathers (Unsere Mutter, Unsere Vater) has been watched by some 21 million viewers, and ZDF's defence follows a letter of complaint from Poland's Ambassador to Berlin Jerzy Marganski.

The ambassador's objections related to portrayals of both the Home Army (the official resistance force loyal to the government-in-exile in London) and Poles in general.

“The Polish Home Army and the majority of Poles are presented in the show as people under the influence of anti-Semitism, almost not very different from the German Nazis, and possessed by greed, which led them to commit the most heinous acts,” says the protest letter.

The film follows the destinies of four young Germans and one Jew named Viktor between 1941 and 1945.

At one point, Polish partisans stop a German train, but when they discover that the passengers are Jews being transported to a concentration camp, they decide not to free the inmates.

Likewise, the Jewish character Viktor is thrown out of a Home Army unit that he joins when his comrades-in-arms discover his background.

ZDF stressed that after the last episode of the drama was screened, the station showed a documentary about Poles who were killed by Germans for trying to help Jews. ZDF also drew attention to the character of Alina, who tries to protect Viktor.

The Polish Home Army had an official branch devoted to helping Jews, named Zegota.

However, Home Army commander General Stefan Rowecki argued in a 1941 dispatch to the London government-exile that while “almost nobody recommends emulating German methods,” nevertheless, “the overwhelmingly majority of the county is anti-semitic.” (nh/pg)

source: PAP

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