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Poles Take Issue with WWII Portrayals


Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter

 

The TV mini-series  titled “Our Mothers, Our Fathers” (“Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter”) , produced by German TV station ZDF, gave rise to a wave of critical comments after it was broadcast in Germany. Critics said the movie portrayed the Polish Home Army soldiers as anti-semitic and “driven by greed.” It certainly portrays  the Polish resistance force in a false light. Described by its authors as an attempt to provoke a domestic debate about the past before the older generation fades away, the series naturally sets off from a very German perspective. It received mixed reviews especially in the United States as well as from a number of British influential dailies because of an unorthodox way of approaching the question of blame in World War II and presenting foreigners (Poles, Americans or Russians).

When the series was first aired in Poland, it caused a serious outcry among veterans and the wider public due to its depiction of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK) and Poles in general. The soldiers of the largest resistance formation in all occupied Europe, the 400,000-strong military arm of the unique in its kind Polish Underground State, who are considered virtuous patriots in Poland, are depicted in this series as nothing more than staunch anti-Semites and uncivilised bandits from the forest.

The offence is made greater by an array of scenes reasserting an overall strongly negative impression of Poles, whilst at the same time fostering a feeling of sympathy and affinity with the five young, attractive Germans, the heroes of the drama. The series seems to be creating a somehow distorted reality of World War II, which many people regard as offensive to the memory of the millions of victims of the Nazi German regime in an occupied Poland and elsewhere.

Poles, whenever they appear in Generation War, are portrayed as angry, rude, and filthy. In several scenes they sport anti-Semitism through either their actions or comments. The Polish soldiers are shown as not just indifferent to the fate of the Jews being sent to death camps, but as openly hostile. In reality, however, Home Army units often shielded Jews despite the fact that Poland was the only territory in all German-occupied Europe where hiding a Jew was punishable by death, and not only of the person convicted, but also of their entire family.

The Polish Underground State was the first to communicate information to the Western Allies about the camps, and through the Polish government-in-Exile in London appealed for help and intervention to stop the atrocities against the Jews.

The German TV series presents an image of the Polish soldiers that is not true, based on stereotypes, and deeply hurtful.

In reality, the Home Army fought against the German oppressor, and died for the freedom of Poland and of all the Polish people, regardless of their ethnicity and religion.

Among the ranks of the Home Army were highly decorated people like cavalry Capt. Witold Pilecki and Jan Karski, the world-famous courier who was posthumously awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. The way the movie presents the Polish resistance movement certainly does not serve the truth. Highlighting antisemitism and omitting other important information may lead to the negation of the contribution of the Polish resistance movement to the victory of the Allied Forces over the Germans.

Just as it is unfavourable towards Poles, the series also effectively undermines the German blame by appealing to the viewers with touching stories of ordinary Germans tangled in the ghastly realities imposed on them by war. In general, viewers feel instinctively inclined towards protagonists, and so also protagonists of Generation War gain sympathy of their audience, even when they commit horrible things, as they may be seen as decent people living in a cruel world, having to obey orders against their true good nature.

Such a false moral equivalence, for those who do not know history well, runs the risk of confusing the perpetrators with their victims. And the question of responsibility for the outbreak of World War II is not subject to debate. It is also curious that the narrator of the story – Wilhelm – only discovers brutality of war on the Soviet front, when he served in the Wehrmacht during Polish and French campaigns.

The Blitzkrieg against Poland was no picnic. The Wehrmacht committed atrocities against civilians from day one of invasion, and the death toll amounted to 150,000-200,000 people. By 1941 Germany had occupied not only Poland and France but also the Benelux, Denmark, Norway, and the Balkans.

The Polish patriots and victims whose family died protecting their country and also her Jewish citizens strongly protest against this vision of history.

But yet again this erroneous phrase that misrepresents World War II history occasionally surfaces in the American and German mainstream media, and the “Polish concentration camps” phrase is being used. After the readers complained in the comments section under the online article, the phrase “Polish concentration camps” was replaced with “Nazi concentration camp in Poland”, which doesn’t really improve the misleading perception as it does not inform the public of who the real Nazis were.

“The term ‘Polish concentration camp’ is incorrect.

The Nazi Germans established the ‘concentration camps’ on occupied Polish soil and the camps were NOT Polish as implied by some articles.

The Germans are desperately trying to put the blame for the Holocaust on the Poles. The tabloid sourcing from the new German TV series “Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter” Our Mothers, Our Father, claims that the extermination of Europe’s Jewry was the work of “anti semitic extremists from the Home Army and the Nazis ( which Nazis?)

In fact, the Soviet-Jewish partisans were murdering Poles and even taking part in the massacres on Polish villages. ”

The Home Army then defended Polish population by fighting against Jewish and Ukrainians partisans. Jews join the Red Army in 1939 to fight against Poland and now the smear campaign in conjunction with the German slander continue to blame Polish people for the holocaust.

The Germans paid the Jews.

I wonder if it has something to do with Poland not agreeing on paying reparations to the Jews…?

 

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/witold-sobkaw/generation-war-fact-fiction_b_5450691.html

 

2 comments on “Poles Take Issue with WWII Portrayals

  1. KJ
    June 10, 2014

    Please visit “Polish Media Issues” on facebook. We have the same agenda.
    Proszę odwiedzić “POLISH MEDIA ISSUES” na Facebooku. Mamy ten sam program.

    • HKW
      June 11, 2014

      Dziękuję, odwiedzę.

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This entry was posted on June 6, 2014 by in Germany, Polish history, World War 2.

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