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EU Commission changes social media post about Auschwitz after protests from Poland

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland on Sunday asked the European Commission to fix a social media post about the Holocaust, saying it wrongly linked the Auschwitz death camp to Poland, rather than Nazi Germany.

In a video posted Saturday on the X platform by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, she and other commissioners read the names of Holocaust victims while video captions noted their places of birth and death.

Several victims were listed as “Murdered in Auschwitz, Poland,” without noting that the notorious extermination camp was built and run by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski wrote on X: “When referring to the Nazi extermination camp in Auschwitz, it should be noted that it was established under German occupation.” He added that “information posted on the European Commission’s social media will be clarified.”

Later Sunday, the captions in the video were changed to “Auschwitz, German Nazi extermination camp.”

The European Commission didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

The speaker of the Polish parliament, Szymon Holownia, welcomed the change saying: “The Auschwitz camp was a German Nazi concentration camp established in the areas occupied by Germany in 1939. This is the only truth.”

Poles are highly sensitive to any description of Auschwitz that fails to mention that the camp was built by Nazi Germany after it invaded Poland.

On Saturday, a group of Holocaust survivors and state officials held a modest ceremony at the memorial and museum site of Auschwitz-Birkenau to mark the 79th anniversary of the camp’s liberation by the Soviet troops on Jan. 17, 1945. The day is now dedicated to Holocaust remembrance.

Germany invaded neighboring Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, starting World War II. Beginning in 1940, the Nazis used old Austrian military barracks in the southern town of Oswiecim, which they renamed Auschwitz, as a concentration and death camp for Polish resistance members. In 1942 they added the nearby Birkenau part, with gas chambers and crematoria, as a mass extermination site, mostly for Jews.

An estimated 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau until its liberation. During that time, Poland was under brutal German occupation and lost some 6 million citizens, half of them Jews.

Polish law penalizes anyone wrongly blaming Poles for Nazi Germany’s crimes on Polish soil.