MSNBC journalist defames Poland at ME conference

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell said the Jewish Ghetto Uprising was a fight "against the Nazi and Polish regime."

The American journalist on Wednesday interviewed the US VP Mike Pence who is in Warsaw for the conference on the Middle East to be held on Thursday. In her report from Warsaw Ms Mitchell informed that Mr Pence’s itinerary included a visit to the Warsaw Ghetto where in 1943 Jews “for a month fought against the Polish and Nazi regime, and on Friday, of course a visit to Auschwitz.”

The report has led to protest from the Polish Embassy in the USA which issued a statement setting the record straight that the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was against the German Nazi occupiers and was actively supported by the Polish Underground State. The Deputy Speaker of the Polish Parliament, Stanisław Tyszka, called for Ms Mitchell to be expelled from Poland as a persona non grata in protest at the outrageous slur against Poland.

The remarks brought a reaction from various groups, including the Forum of Polish Jews, which labelled it a “scandal” and said that “as a Jewish-American [she] should be especially well acquainted with the history of the Holocaust”, and Poland's Institute of National Remembrance has said it will ask the reporter to apologise for her comments and is ready to sue her in the civil courts if she refuses to do so.

The remarks by the senior American journalist are not just a display of startling ignorance of history. They are very much in line with notions of “Polish death camps” that led to the passing of the controversial Defamation law last year. That law envisaged penalising those who attribute responsibility for the Holocaust to the Polish state and nation. It was amended to remove penalisation a few months later after protests from the US and Israel that this could lead to limiting discussion and research on history. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising took place in the spring of 1943 in response as a desperate attempt to resist German Nazi repression and transportation of Jews to concentration camps. The Polish Underground State and the Polish Government in Exile supported the Uprising by supplying weapons and attempting to protect survivors. There was never any collusion between the Polish state and the Nazi regime and in 1943 Poland had been under German Nazi occupation for almost four years.