Poland threatens to sue German paper over Nazi reference

Poland threatened Tuesday to sue Germany's Die Welt newspaper for referring to the Nazi-run Majdanek camp as a "Polish concentration camp."

Poland threatens to sue German paper over Nazi reference
A file photo of the Nazi Majdanek camp in Poland. Photo: DPA

“It’s scandalous … all the more since this is a German newspaper,” Poland’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Ryszard Schnepf told Poland’s commercial RMF radio, adding that the the term “Polish concentration camp” implied that Poland also carried responsibility for Nazi crimes.

“I support radical measures,” he said. “I’m thinking of launching a serious and high-profile court case for big money against this kind of newspaper so it will echo in the world press.”

The error was made in a report from Israel, printed Monday in Die Welt, detailing a visit by Israelis to the World War II concentration camp near Lublin, eastern Poland.

The internet version of the report was corrected Tuesday, with Die Welt explaining that Majdanek – where 360,000 perished during World War II – was “a German concentration camp installed by the SS in Poland which was occupied on the orders of Heinrich Himmler.”

Warsaw regularly protests against use of the adjective “Polish” to describe concentration camps established by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II.

Of the 360,000 prisoners gassed or shot at Majdanek between 1941 and 1944, 230,000 were European Jews. Others included non-Jewish Poles and Soviet prisoners of war.

Die Welt is published by Germany’s Axel Springer media group, which also owns major newspapers in Poland including the top-selling tabloid Fakt.