Poland Dismayed Over Obama ‘Polish Death Camp’ Gaffe

May 30, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo
Polish World War II resistance fighter and scholar Jan Karski in Warsaw May 17, 2000. Karski tried as early as 1943 to alert Western Allies to the situation in German-occupied Poland, especially the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the extermination camps. (Tomasz Gzell/AFP/Getty Images)

Poland said it was dismayed over President Barack Obama referring to a Nazi concentration camp during World War II as a “Polish death camp.”

“It is an issue to which we cannot be indifferent, for the sake of Poland, our country and our fellow countrymen,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. “We cannot accept such words, even if they are uttered by the head of an ally superpower.”

Tusk did not directly call on the U.S. to make an apology but seemed to suggest one.

“I am certain that our American friends are capable of a more explicit reaction than issuing a correction and the spokesperson of the White House expressing regret, and that maybe they will once and for all eliminate such errors,” he said in a statement.

The White House said Obama misspoke when he made the error.

The comment was “historically inaccurate. It should instead have been: ‘Nazi death camps in German occupied Poland.’ We regret the error,” the White House said on Wednesday.

The president made the “death camp” remark at a ceremony where he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski, who later immigrated to the U.S. after the end of World War II.

Poland was occupied by the Nazis during World War II and was not responsible for operating the camps or Nazi crimes.