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Polish Weekly Under Fire For Merkel Concentration Camp Photo

A Polish magazine came under fire after its cover photo featured German Chancellor Angela Merkel as concentration camp prisoner.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 4/11/2013, 10:55 PM

Chancellor Angela Merkel
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Flash 90

A Polish magazine came under fire after its cover photo featured German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a World War II concentration camp prisoner, under the headline, “Falsification of History: How the Germans Are Turning Themselves into Victims of the Second World War.”

Polish weekly Uwazam Rze published the photo following outrage in Poland over a new German historical mini-series that depicted Polish resistance fighters as indifferent to the plight of the Jews during the war.

Filmed by public broadcaster ZDF, the three-episode mini-series titled "Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter" ("Our Mothers, Our Fathers"), “follows the lives of five young German friends through the war, including the Jewish character Viktor, who manages to break out of a train transporting him and others to a concentration camp. On the run, he finds shelter with resistance fighters in German-occupied Poland, but quickly gleans from their frequent anti-Semitic comments that he must hide his Jewish heritage to survive,” according to Spiegel Online.

In one scene, a partisan proudly exclaims: “we drown Jews like rats.”

Polish media was rife with criticism, alleging that the series not only painted Germans as victims, but falsely represented the roles of Polish resistance fighters in the Armia Krajowa (AK), or Home Army, Spiegel reported.

Last month Poland’s ambassador to Germany, Jerzy Marganski, protested the series in a letter sent to German public television station.

“The image of Poland and the Polish resistance against the German occupiers as conveyed by this series is perceived by most Poles as extremely unjust and offensive,” Marganski wrote.

Producer of the series Nico Hofmann maintained, however, that, "the scenes are based on historical data. There was no intention to insult the Poles."