Obama Death-Camp Gaffe Angers Poles

He referred to a WWII 'Polish death camp'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2012 3:47 AM CDT
President Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to former Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld, who is accepting for resistance fighter Jan Karski.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – President Obama paid tribute to a Polish war hero yesterday, but managed to infuriate Poland in the process. At a White House ceremony honoring resistance fighter Jan Karski, who tried to alert the world to the Holocaust, Obama used the phrase "Polish death camp," which is terminology that Poles consider unacceptable, the Economist reports. Angry Polish leaders said Obama should have used the phrase "German death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland."

Poland's foreign minister demanded a White House apology for the "outrageous error," saying it was "a pity that this important ceremony was upstaged by ignorance and incompetence." A National Security Council spokesman issued a statement saying Obama misspoke. "The president was referring to Nazi death camps operated in Poland," he said. "The president has demonstrated in word and deed his rock-solid commitment to our close alliance with Poland."

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