Poles Object to German WWII TV Program That Depicts Polish Anti-Semitism

March 29, 2013 5:19 pm 14 comments

Screen shot from "Our Mothers, Our Fathers." Photo: ZDF.

A German program that portrays Poland during World War II in an unflattering light has caused an uproar in the latter country.

“Our Mothers, Our Fathers,” which follows the lives of five wartime Germans, shows members of Poland’s resistance army shunning Jewish members and failing to help others heading for Auschwitz, the UK’s Daily Mail reports. In one scene, a partisan boasts “we drown Jews like rats.”

Thursday Poland’s ambassador to Germany, Jerzy Marganski, protested the series in a letter sent to German public television station ZDF, which has been broadcasting the show.

“The image of Poland and the Polish resistance against the German occupiers as conveyed by this series is perceived by most Poles as extremely unjust and offensive,”Marganski wrote. “I, too, am shocked.”

Taduesz Filipkowski, spokesman for the International Home Army Association, a veterans’ organisation, also criticised the German production.

“We are angry with this film’s message,’ he told the Daily Telegraph. ‘We believe it to be evil slander and an attempt to justify Nazi crimes by setting them against the alleged anti-Semitism that existed in Poland before the war. Our government should not ignore this attack on our reputation.”

Producer Nico Hofmann said the depictions of ‘the Polish situation…. are based on historically vetted material’ and there was no intention to defame the Poles.

Hofmann said one of his goals was to encourage a national debate among the generations “to speak for the first time about the experience” of the war.

“Our Mothers, Our Fathers” has received mixed reactions in Germany, where the show has been a hit. Many believe it an opportunity to confront taboos surrounding that era in the nation’s history, while others have viewed it as defamatory and provocative.


14 Comments

  • Hello. I’m from Poland. Who is responsible for that everyone wants to Poles be the bad guys? Why only polish nation is antisemitic?

  • Before Second World War Poland had bigger Jewish population than any other European country. If Jews choose to live there it probably indicates that they liked it there. Felt like home in there. Many of them were politicians or artists. Many were very patriotic towards Poland. Would they live there if Poland was more anti-semitic than any other country in Europe at the time?
    Polish resistance took an active part in rescuing Jews.
    To date, 6,266 Poles have been awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations by the State of Israel – more than any other nation.
    Looking for antisemitism? Look in pre-war Germany and her allies at the time. That includes USSR. After WW2 Poland was under Soviet occupation therefore policy towards Jews was also of Soviet origin.

  • The Kielce pogrom of 4 July 1946 in which 20 Jews were beaten to death by 600 – 1,000 Polish workers using steel rods and clubs, with other Jews being shot, bayoneted, stoned and clubbed to death, speaks volumes about the “innocence” of Poland and Polish war-time attitudes. This was over a year after the German defeat. The pogroms continued even into 1947 and averaged about 300 Jewish deaths per year. One cannot change until facing the past, no matter how good or bad.
    Linda Weiss Rose, we must NEVER forget!

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    In other news, people who don’t believe the earth is round and gravity exists object to depictions of those things.

  • Mr. Dinkels, the question is who are you kidding?

    Polish citizens have the world’s highest count of individuals awarded medals and the status of Righteous Among the Nations, given by the State of Israel to non-Jews who saved Jews from extermination during the Holocaust. There are 6,339 Polish men and women recognized as “Righteous” to this day (as of October 2012), amounting to over 25 per cent of the total number of 22,765 honorary titles awarded already.

    It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Poles concealed and aided hundreds of thousands of their Polish-Jewish neighbors. Many of these initiatives were carried out by individuals, but there also existed organized networks of Polish resistance who was dedicated to aiding Jews – most notably, the Żegota organization.

    In German-occupied Poland the task of rescuing Jews was especially difficult and dangerous. All household members were punished by death if a Jew was found concealed in their home or on their property. One study estimates of the number of Poles who were killed by the Nazis for aiding Jews, among them 704 posthumously honored with medals, as high as tens of thousands.

    source (one of many):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Polish_Righteous_Among_the_Nations

  • The Poles enjoy playing the victim role, while the Germans are the bad guys.
    Well, with the latest available information seems to me that Poles trusted in british and french promises until their bitter end, when the Germans were not going to allow another massacre of German origin civilian Poles as the “Bloody Sundays” goes. By the way the British fooled the Poles, because I don’t remember of any British militar expedition to help them.
    What I know is that “Our Mothers. Our Fathers” still desinform the German society about what really happened, but is a change considering the available information.By the way antisemitism ran and run high in Poland, Schade!.
    The Poles were not a match for the Waffen SS and Wehrmacht using high tech weapons and the Blitzkrieg.

  • eventhough you are right, we must not forget the origins, Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann, Mengele were Austrian & German. The Germans also murdered 3.500.000 non jewish Poles.

    • John Richards

      Right about what? Bloody Sunday in Bydgoszcz in Sept 1939? right after German Nazi invasion of Poland? this is what happened then:

      “In what was presented by the Nazis as an act of retaliation, 2,000 Polish civilians were picked at random and executed by German military, with further reprisals soon to follow. According to the book Masters of Death (published by Richard Rhodes in the New York Times: [4]), some of these victims

      were a number of Boy Scouts, from twelve to sixteen years of age, who were set up in the marketplace against a wall and shot. No reason was given. A devoted priest who rushed to administer the Last Sacrament was shot too. He received five wounds. A Pole said afterwards that the sight of those children lying dead was the most piteous of all the horrors he saw. That week the murders continued. Thirty-four of the leading tradespeople and merchants of the town were shot, and many other leading citizens. The square was surrounded by troops with machine-guns.

      The troops then attacked the Jesuits, looting and ransacking the church. The priests were taken to a barn, where the local Jewish population was already imprisoned, and were all subjected to abuse.

      The early Polish claims of German atrocities against Poles in Bydgoszcz were cited as evidence given to the War Crimes Tribunals. A document produced by the Polish authorities reads:[10]

      On September 3 1939, at 1015 in the morning, German Fifth Columnists attacked Polish units withdrawing from Bydgoszcz. During the fighting, 238 Polish soldiers and 223 German Fifth Columnists were killed. As a consequence of the entry of German troops into the town, mass executions, arrests, and deportations of Polish citizens to concentration camps took place, which were carried out by German authorities, the SS and Gestapo. 10,500 were murdered, and a further 13,000 died in the camps.”

      This was reality of Nazi German occupation of Poland since the invasion on Sept 1st 1939.

  • The Poles must be kidding!! Do the ever wonder why more extermination camps were in Poland than any other country? The Poles were and continue to be viciously Anti-Semitic. How many returning Jews were killed in 1946 when they came back to retrieve their belongings? The Poles are disgusting Anti-Semites

    • John Chludzinski

      Ms. Rose,

      Poland today is probably the most pro-Israeli country in Europe. But the need of Jews to continually find enemies is pure folly; it’s counter-productive to say the least. Instead of condemning an entire people, why don’t you try to accept a hand of friendship when it’s offered?

      This generation is beginning to come to terms with an ugly part of their past. One that’s hard to accept given the horrors visited upon them in WWII. Slapping them in the face will NOT encourage anything positive. Hatred will only be met by hatred.

      Were there anti-Semites in pre-WWII Poland – yes. Are there anti-Semites in Poland now- yes. Both statement could easily be made about almost every country in Europe (and the US). That does not mean this is reflective of an entire nation. Stop living in the past.

    • John Richards

      Linda, you are promoting hatred. You simply do not know history. I wonder what is the reason why you would attack Poles, Gentile Poles and Poles of Jewish origin suffered during the War as no other people, and you seem not to notice Germans’ responsibility for the War and for the Holocaust. I don;t know how old you are – but it is high time that you understand where your rabid hatred towards Poles comes from?

  • Samuel Dinkels

    Who are the Poles kidding? Pre-war Poland was rife with antisemitism, as was post-war Poland. The Polish resistance refused to supply arms to Jewish fighters in Warsaw and elsewhere. Were there cases of Poles helping Jews? Of course. But out of a population of 3.5 million Polish Jews, very few received any help. And there were many more Poles who turned in and exposed Jews to the Germans.

    • John Richards

      Samuel, what you are saying is simply false. Read in
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising
      “Support from outside the Ghetto was limited, but Polish Resistance units from the mainstream Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK)[18] and the communist Polish Workers’ Party’s militia People’s Guard (Gwardia Ludowa, GL)[19] attacked German units near the Ghetto walls and attempted to smuggle weapons, ammunition, supplies, and instructions into the Ghetto.[20] Polish resistance provided the insurgents with a limited number of badly needed weapons and ammunitions from its meager stocks.[21] Jewish right-wing resistance in the Jewish Military Union (Żydowski Związek Wojskowy, ŻZW) received large quantities of armament, including several automatic weapons, from the AK-affiliated National Security Corps (Państwowy Korpus Bezpieczeństwa, PKB).[22] AK disseminated information and appeals to help the Jews in the Ghetto, both in Poland and by way of radio transmissions to the Allies.”

      This help was provided by Poles – while the World was silent. When Poles and Poland will stop being blamed for atrocities carefully planned and implemented by Germans.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Europe Sports Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    A Hebrew tattoo sported by Croatian soccer star Mario Mandzukic became an internet sensation in Israel after it was exposed on Tuesday during a Champions League match between Ateltico Madrid and Real Madrid A first glance, the tattoo, on the athlete’s back, might leave one with the impression that it was an unfortunate artistic mistake, since the Hebrew letters do not make sense as they are written. However, a closer look at the tattoo shows that it was actually written [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    For the past two years, I have served as Opinion Editor at The Algemeiner. I’m perhaps most proud of the paper’s commitment to publishing diverse and opposing viewpoints on the controversial issues of the day. We pride ourselves on voicing different opinions because we know that most issues are not black and white, and because our community is better served by a public debate. In my life outside of the paper, I am a professional actor and playwright. And similarly, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated magazine featured an extensive profile on Orthodox-Jewish college basketball player Aaron Liberman on Wednesday.  The article details Liberman’s efforts to balance faith, academics and basketball at Tulane University, a challenge the young athlete calls “a triple major.” Sports Illustrated pointed out that Liberman is the second Orthodox student to play Division I college basketball. The other was Tamir Goodman, the so-called “Jewish Jordan.” As reported in The Algemeiner, Liberman started his NCAA career at Northwestern University. According to [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.