A German program that portrays Poland during World War II in an unflattering light has caused an uproar in the latter country.
“Our Mothers, Our Fathers,” which follows the lives of five wartime Germans, shows members of Poland’s resistance army shunning Jewish members and failing to help others heading for Auschwitz, the UK’s Daily Mail reports. In one scene, a partisan boasts “we drown Jews like rats.”
Thursday Poland’s ambassador to Germany, Jerzy Marganski, protested the series in a letter sent to German public television station ZDF, which has been broadcasting the show.
“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. “I, too, am shocked.”
Taduesz Filipkowski, spokesman for the International Home Army Association, a veterans’ organisation, also criticised the German production.
“We are angry with this film’s message,’ he told the Daily Telegraph. ‘We believe it to be evil slander and an attempt to justify Nazi crimes by setting them against the alleged anti-Semitism that existed in Poland before the war. Our government should not ignore this attack on our reputation.”
Producer Nico Hofmann said the depictions of ‘the Polish situation…. are based on historically vetted material’ and there was no intention to defame the Poles.
Hofmann said one of his goals was to encourage a national debate among the generations “to speak for the first time about the experience” of the war.
“Our Mothers, Our Fathers” has received mixed reactions in Germany, where the show has been a hit. Many believe it an opportunity to confront taboos surrounding that era in the nation’s history, while others have viewed it as defamatory and provocative.