Polish Official Invites Ocasio-Cortez to Poland to See Concentration Camps

June 20, 2019 Updated: June 20, 2019

A Polish member of parliament has invited American lawmaker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Poland to see concentration camps run by Nazi Germany during World War II after she claimed the United States is currently operating concentration camps.

“I write to you out of distress in having learned of your recent statements regarding concentration camps,” wrote Dominik Tarczynski, a member of the Polish parliament, in a letter he posted online on June 20.

“As you should be aware, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi) who led Germany, were responsible for the darkest period in my country’s and our whole continent’s history by devising a chain of concentration camps in order to exterminate those who they believed were subhuman, or a threat to their imperialistic machinations—this included both Jewish Poles and non-Jewish Poles and as a result we lost six million of our citizens,” he added.

Tarczynski said that Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that the administration of President Donald Trump is running concentration camps was an unsavory use of the term to score political points.

“While under German Nazi occupation, a number of concentration camps were set up in my country, Poland. It has caused a deep wound that persists on our proud Polish and European history that we must deal with every single day, and that we reaffirm to one another can never be forgotten, and never allowed to happen again,” he wrote.

“This is why when someone cheapens the history, or uses it for political point-scoring, we become agitated and upset.”

In a statement, Tarczynski added, “With this letter, I am formally inviting @AOC to come to Poland, where Adolf Hitler set up the worst chain of concentration camps the world has ever seen, so that she may see that scoring political points with enflamed rhetoric is unacceptable in our contemporary Western societies.”

A number of Jewish groups and organizations also took issue with the congresswoman’s claim, including Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust center that’s located in Israel.

“Concentration camps assured a slave labor supply to help in the Nazi war effort, even as the brutality of life inside the camps helped assure the ultimate goal of ‘extermination through labor,'” the organization said, tagging Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter.

The JCRC of New York also responded, writing, “We urge @AOC to refrain from using terminology evocative of the Holocaust tonvoice (sic) concerns about contemporary political issues, as per our letter below.”

In the letter, leaders of the group wrote that they were “deeply disturbed by the language used in your recent Instagram live video which seeks to equate the detention centers on America’s southern border with Nazi-era Concentration Camps.”

“The terms ‘Concentration Camp’ and ‘Never Again’ are synonymous with and evocative of the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, in which six million European Jews were systematically denied civil and human rights due to their race and ultimately murdered in state-sponsored genocide,” the leaders wrote.

“As concerned we are about the conditions experienced by migrants seeking asylum in the United States … the regrettable use of Holocaust terminology to describe these contemporary concerns diminishes the evil intent of the Nazis to eradicate the Jewish people.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber