German-owned Polish media accuses Polish soldiers of ‘exterminating’ Soviet POWs during 1920 Battle of Warsaw

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On Aug. 15, on the centenary of the 1920 Battle of Warsaw, German-owned Polish newspaper Onet published articles depicting alleged atrocities committed by Polish soldiers during the 1920 battle.

Onet, which is owned by German publishing giant Axel Springer, featured headlines such as “What Poles are doing is indescribable, a Red Army medical officer writes touching letters from the front to his wife” or “The dark side of victory: The betrayal of the Polish delegation” and “The truth about the fates of Soviet POWs in 1920 –  hell behind tangle wire.”

These headlines and articles have earned the ire of several Polish commentators, but for the time being, only conservative ones.

“If anyone was in doubt that German propaganda always goes hand in hand with Russian propaganda,” wrote editorialist and author Rafał Ziemkiewicz.

Polish newspaper Sieci’s head editor Jacek Karnowski labeled the articles a case of “hatred towards Poland” which has become the “instinct, nature and need” of Poland’s enemies.

Journalists and commentators also condemned RASP, owned by Newsweek Polska, for bringing up an article published 11 years ago which showed the Polish-Soviet war from the Soviet point of view, which accused Poles of mistreating Soviet soldiers. The article even used the term “the Polish 2nd Republic’s barbarian storage camps”.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also referred to the scandalous articles and sent a letter to the CEO of RASP, Mark Dekan, in which he appealed to him to stop relativizing the history of the Battle of Warsaw.

“As the prime minister of Poland, I received with great shock the decision of the editorial boards belonging to one of your publishers to publicize and promote articles on the day of the anniversary of the celebration of Europe’s salvation from communism, whose content shadows and twists the truth about those incredible days and unbreakable heroes,” he wrote.

Morawiecki, in particular, harshly criticized the accusation of the Polish 2nd Republic’s government of “exterminating” Soviet POWs, saying he believed that such statements are “disgraceful and slanderous.”

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