Poland blasts Stephen Fry

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY ROBYNROSEN

THE POL­ISH Em­bassy in Lon­don has ac­cused comic ac­tor Stephen Fry of “defama­tion” af­ter he al­legedly im­plied that the Pol­ish na­tion was re­spon­si­ble for the atroc­i­ties at Auschwitz.

In an in­ter­view with Jon Snow on Chan­nel 4 News last week Mr Fry crit­i­cised the Con­ser­va­tive Party’s ties with Poland’s Law and Jus­tice party.

Mr Fry is among the high-pro­file fig­ures who have spo­ken out against the Pol­ish party’s al­leged ho­mo­pho­bic and an­ti­semitic views, which Pol­ish MEP, Michal Kamin­ski, de­nies.

Dur­ing the in­ter­view, Mr Fry said: “There has been a his­tory, let’s face it, in Poland, of a right-wing Catholi­cism which has been deeply dis­turb­ing for those of us who know a lit­tle his­tory and re­mem­ber which side of the bor­der Auschwitz was on, and know the sto­ries, and know much of the an­ti­semitic and ho­mo­pho­bic and na­tion­al­is­tic el­e­ments in coun­tries like Poland.”

A spokesman from the Pol­ish Em­bassy said: “The sug­ges­tion that Poles had some­thing to do with es­tab­lish­ing this death camp was com­pletely un­true and defam­a­tory.

“Pol­ish peo­ple were vic­tims of Auschwitz as well as Jewish peo­ple and it’s re­ally im­por­tant not to be mis­led about who was in charge of the camps. It was Adolf Hitler and Nazi Ger­many that were the per­pe­tra­tors.

“I think there is a lack of deeper knowl­edge about the his­tory of East­ern Europe and lots of myths about Pol­ish his­tory. Af­ter this up­roar, he [Stephen Fry] should check some facts in the en­cy­clopae­dia and then I’m sure he won’t make the same mis­take again.”

Re­fer­ring to the Poles, Mr Fry later wrote on so­cial net­work­ing site, Twit­ter: “I fear I may have to wait a while be­fore they for­give me for in­ad­ver­tently of­fend­ing them.”

Mean­while, Jewish his­tory pro­fes­sor David Ce­sarani has pub­licly crit­i­cised what he calls the ac­tor’s “care­less” re­marks.

He wrote on the Guardian’s Com­ment is Free web­site that Mr Fry was “bliss­fully un­aware” of re­search into Pol­ish-Jewish his­tory and said that re­la­tions be­tween the two were closer than pre­vi­ously thought.

He wrote: “Fry is, ev­i­dently, still squint­ing back­wards through blood­coloured spec­ta­cles.

“His­tory may be too se­ri­ous a busi­ness to be left to co­me­di­ans and politi­cians, but the his­to­ri­ans have got to try harder too.”

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