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Disgrace – BBC To Show “Generation War”
In 2013 the ‘Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter’ (‘Generation War’) series was aired by ZDF in Germany, its theme being a biased view of WWII. The distortions that this promoted produced a storm of objections and resulted in protests at ZDF’s offices.
The series portrayed the AK (Armia Krajowa, the military wing of the Polish Underground State) as anti-Semitic. This is the same AK that had thousands of Jews in its membership; conveyed to the Allies the first information about the killing of Jews in German camps; that fought alongside Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising; that saved thousands of Jews through ‘The Council to Aid Jews’ – Poland being the only country where such an organisation existed.
The wider cause for outrage is stated by Szewach Weiss, a Holocaust survivor, former Speaker of the Knesset and Israeli ambassador to Poland. “The German nation is tainted with dishonour so great that even the generation born after the war cannot endure the burden. So, this film repeats familiar themes that attempt to dilute their guilt. It is one matter to seek out ‘good Germans’, but quite another to invent nations as co-defendants in murder. This is at the core of the Germans’ anti- Polish obsession, since their crimes were carried out on Polish territory”.
The BBC’s announcement to screen this series has been greeted with utter dismay by the Polish community in the UK and worldwide, with responses to the BBC including; a note from the Polish ambassador, appeal from representatives of numerous Polish organisations, and protests at offices in New York and London.
The BBC has previously aired anti-Polish material such as the sensationalist ‘Stadiums of Hate’ portraying Poland as intolerant and racist. There is ‘institutional amnesia’ regarding Polish achievements, such as breaking the Enigma code. The BBC continues to disregard undertakings not to make statements about ‘Polish camps’. Contempt for the Polish community was obvious when the BBC closed its ONLY Polish language programme broadcast for 20 years by a team of volunteers at almost no cost to the BBC.
While we reserve judgement until we know what, if any changes, the BBC has made, the Polish community must be ready to react should the BBC continue to propagate anti-Polish attitudes.
Generation War airs on BBC2 26th April at 9.30pm.