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Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada
Montreal Chapter

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Managing Editor
Toronto Globe & Mail

October 16, 2002

Dear Sir or Madam,
On behalf of the Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation in Montreal, we would like to express our deep concern over the reference to the "Polish concentration camp" in the article 'The return of the Auschwitz nightmare' in Toronto Globe & Mail, published on 20 September 2002 - and only recently reported to us.


Auschwitz was in fact a Nazi death camp established and operated by the German Nazis in the then-occupied Polish town of Oswiecim. And so were other death camps on the Polish land occupied by Germany. The reference to Auschwitz or any other of those camps as a Polish concentration camp will inevitably lead your readers to erroneously conclude that a death camp was sponsored or administered by the Polish government (whereas no Polish government existed during the German occupation !) or that Polish people participated in perpetrating the Holocaust. Any such implication besmirches the memory of all those Poles who suffered so greatly under the German occupation, including the many thousands who died at the hands of the Germans in Auschwitz.


Incidentally, the present president of our Board - as a young Pole at the age of nineteen - spent ten months in Pawiak, a German prison in Warsaw.


For almost fifteen years our Foundation has been working to bring together members of the Polish and Jewish communities in Montreal to discuss issues of common concern, to promote a peaceful dialogue aiming at a better knowledge of our common heritage and mutual understanding. Through conferences, invited speakers and more recently by means of our Web site www.polish-jewish-heritage.org and by memoirs of the Holocaust survivors that our Foundation has published and will continue to publish, we have facilitated dialogue on challenging issues, on anti-Semitic and anti-Polish sentiments, and the unprecedented Jedwabne debate.


Please rest assured that we stand ready to cooperate with you in any possible way to rectify this misperception, including meeting with the Toronto Globe & Mail's editorial board. We trust that you share our concern for historical accuracy and we thank you in advance for your consideration.


Respectfully,

Irena Bellert Ilona Gruda, Krzysztof Dzieciolowski Andrea Axt

President Vice-presidents Board member


Reply: October 16, 2002

Dear Mrs. Bellert:

Thank you for your letter pointing out the error in our description of Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. You were not the only one to bring it to our attention. We published a correction on Sept. 24. I have reproduced it below.


Yours truly

Earle Gill

Director, Editorial Administration

The Globe and Mail

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Correction


Concentration camps in Poland during the Second World War

were not Polish camps, but Nazi-run camps in occupied Poland.

Incorrect information appeared Sept. 21.