Outrage at Beata Szydło's Auschwitz speech
At a commemorative ceremony at Auschwitz, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło said that the former Nazi concentration camp was "a great lesson" showing that "everything must be done to defend the safety and the lives of citizens". Critics accuse her of using the event to promote her government's anti-refugee policy. How do media in Poland and Germany view the incident?
An expression of a new commemoration policy
The Frankfurter Rundschau is appalled by the speech:
“Poland's government believes it can protect its citizens best by violating European law and not taking in any refugees. That, according to the prime minister, is the lesson Poland has learned from Auschwitz. Must Poland defend itself against refugees, as it defended itself against Nazis? Are the Poles today what the Jews were back then? Szydłos's sentence fits in perfectly with the new Polish commemoration policy, the goal of which is to depict the extermination of the Jews as a purely German deed. The Poles had nothing to do with the genocide. So there is no acknowledgement of Polish collaboration with the Germans, which doesn't fit in with the nationalist glorification of Poland's past now practised in the country.”
Poland defending itself against brainwashing
The pro-government news portal Wpolityce.pl has its own explanation for the wave of indignation sparked by Szydło's statements:
“For many, the Polish prime minister's words are proof that [former Polish prime minister and current EU Council President] Tusk wasn't able to do what he had promised - and what he was paid - to do in Warsaw. Because he was supposed to turn the Poles' brains into pink balloons. Robbed of their identities and memories, the Poles were to be infantilised and rendered incapable of political reflection. ... To that end, German scholarships have been available [for Polish students, for example] for years. In the same way, the history of World War II was to be infantilised and falsified. According to the German history policy, the war experience was a sort of pan-European trauma; a catastrophe that engulfed Europe, its origins unclear but beyond doubt provoked by all sides.”