Scrapbookpages Blog

May 30, 2012

President Barack Obama needs a crash course in geography and the history of World War II

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:23 pm

Yesterday, during the ceremonies for the Presidential Medal of Freedom awards, President Barack Obama offended the Polish people by making a serious mistake when he said that Jews were killed in a “Polish death camp.”  This implies that it was the Polish people who were killing the Jews in death camps.

This quote is from a news article which you can read in full here:

Obama on Tuesday labeled the Nazi facility used to process Jews for extermination as a “Polish death camp.” The White House later said the president “misspoke” and expressed “regret”.

The linguistic faux pas overshadowed Obama’s posthumous award of the highest US civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Jan Karski, a former Polish underground officer who provided early eyewitness accounts of Nazi Germany’s genocide of European Jews.

Between 1939 and 1945, nearly six million Polish citizens perished under Nazi Germany’s brutal World War II occupation of their country.

More than half of Poland’s victims were of Jewish origin and they, in turn, accounted for half of the six million European Jews who perished during the Holocaust.

Many were killed in death camps set up by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland — including the most notorious, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Oops!  Another mistake: Auschwitz-Birkenau was not in occupied Poland, also known as the General Government.  Auschwitz was in Silesia which had been annexed into the Greater German Reich in 1939.  The correct way to locate Auschwitz today would be to say that it was in “what is now Poland.”

You can read about the history of Auschwitz-Birkenau on my website here.

Here is a short history and geography lesson for President Barack Obama:

Map shows that Auschwitz and Chelmno were both in Greater Germany

On the map above, the dark brown area shows the “General Government,” which was the name for German-occupied Poland after Poland was defeated by the Germans in September 1939.  The dark orange section shows the portion of today’s Poland which was in the Greater German Reich during World War II.  The Greater German Reich is shown in the whole orange section, including the dark orange part.  The six “extermination” camps were in what is now the country of Poland, shown in the area outlined in yellow.

The two maps below show Germany before World War I and after World War I.  The Germans blamed the Jews for the loss of World War I and they were mad as hell.  That is why they wanted the Jews out of Europe, among other reasons.

Map of Germany in 1871

On the map above, note the German province of Silesia, where Auschwitz-Birkenau was later located.

Map of Germany after the Treaty of Versailles

The map above shows what was left of Germany after a huge chunk of German territory was given to the new countries of Poland and Czechoslovakia after World War I. Notice how East Prussia was cut off from the rest of Germany by the Polish Corridor.  It was a dispute over the Polish Corridor, among other reasons, which led to World War II.