Mr. Ted Opitz (Etobicoke Centre, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I was troubled to see that in last Friday’s print edition of the Globe and Mail an article on the new war museum in Dresden used the erroneous phrase “Polish concentration camps” in reference to the Nazi German concentration and extermination camps in occupied Poland.
Polish citizens were victims of the brutal Nazi occupiers during the second world war. This phrase is offensive to the Polish people, who formed the largest home army resisting Nazi tyranny and fought shoulder to shoulder with Canadians on the western front. It insults the thousands of Polish righteous among the nations, who risked their lives to save Jewish neighbours from certain death in Hitler’s death camps.
This is not the first time this erroneous phrase has been used. Canada has been clear in our support for the UNESCO designation of Auschwitz as Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp.
It is important for Canadians to be aware of this distinction, and I hope journalists will take this matter seriously and never again refer falsely to Polish concentration camps.