Poland blasts Stephen Fry
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.”