Open letter to Associated Press re German Nazi massacre at Jedwabne

From: Ewa & Stefan Komar
To: gpruitt <>; kcarroll <>; cfeldman <>; jdaniszewski <>; iphillips <>; ckriel <>; jjnoveck <>; dcaruso <>; mediarelations <>; MS <MS@POLISHCONSULATENY.ORG>; mateusz.stasiek <>
Sent: Fri, Jul 22, 2016 1:08 pm
Subject: Please forward open letter to Associated Press

Dear Mr. Daniszewski,

Hereby I submit my letter of protest regarding the inaccurate and biased reporting of your Warsaw correspondent Vanessa Gera. Mrs. Gera regularly exceeds her authority as news correspondent, violates the established quality standards of news journalism and puts herself in a role of a prosecutor of the present Polish government rather than a journalist of an independent international news agency.

Mrs. Gera’s article of July 14, 2016 “Polish official criticized over Jewish massacre remarks”, one of many articles attacking the present Polish government, states among others the following:

The comments (of the Polish Education Minister, Anna Zalewska) concerned the Jedwabne massacre of 1941, when Poles burned alive more than 300 Jews in a barn, and the Kielce massacre of 1946, in which 42 people died. Anniversaries of both pogroms were marked with observances last week, with Duda condemning anti-Semitism at the Kielce event.
For decades, Polish society avoided discussions of those killings, or denied that Polish anti-Semitism motivated them. Sometimes Germans, who occupied Poland during World War II, were blamed for the Jedwabne killings. A turning point was the publication of a book, “Neighbors,” in 2000 by Polish-American sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross, which explored the murder of Jedwabne’s Jews by their Polish neighbors and resulted in widespread soul-searching and official state apologies.

The story of Mrs. Gera, who is not a historian, but seemingly pretends to be one, entirely ignores the role of the Nazi Germany played in the massacres of Jews in Eastern Poland in 1941, among them in the city of Jedwabne. Gera’s article is based on the publications of the Polish-Jewish pseudohistorian J. T. Gross, a very controversial professor from the Princeton University and serves as a frontal attack on the Polish Education Minister, who just seeks the thruth abouth pogroms of Jews in occupied Poland. The Associated Press has been almost entirely silent on the aspect of the German role in the annihilation of Jews. In 1941, the SS officer Hermann Schaper, officialy sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by the German court in Giessen in 1976, carried out with his Kommando SS Zichenau-Schroettersburg numerous pogroms on Poles and Jews, among others in Jedwabne, which Mrs. Gera entirely attributes to Poles. For more details you may refer to a lecture of Prof. Pogonowski at the Georgetown University, Washington DC on June 8, 2002. So it is quite natural that Mrs. Zalewska challenges the inaccuracies in the pseudohistorical books of Mr. Gross and it is quite unusual that your correspondent disseminates biased news.

This is especially disgusting, as according to research of Harriet Scharnberg, a German historian, the Associated Press itself was the only non-German news agency before and during the Second World War, which closely co-operated with the propaganda ministry of Nazi Germany until 1941, when Germany declared war on the USA. AP supplied Nazi propaganda news and pictures to American and other international media thus helping to conceal the German attrocities in Europe, among others in Poland, where 6 million Poles were killed (half of them Polish Jews). According to the agreement between AP and Geobbel’s propaganda ministry, the so called Schriftleitergesetz, AP censored all the news material, which could weaken the position of Nazi Germany. One of the AP photo journalists, Franz Roth, was a member of the SS propaganda division, whose photographs were personally chosen by Hitler. The Nazis were allowed by AP to use its archives to spread anti-Semitism, anti-Polonism and other sick ideas of the German “Herrenrasse”. Your agency substantially contributed to the dissemination of a fully false picture of the Nazi system and the Second World War. You may refer to the interview with Mrs. Scharnberg for the German weekly “Die Zeit” of March 25, 2016 (text in German).

As the British Guardian reported on March 30, 2016: An AP spokesperson told the Guardian: “As we continue to research this matter, AP rejects any notion that it deliberately ‘collaborated’ with the Nazi regime. An accurate characterisation is that the AP and other foreign news organisations were subjected to intense pressure from the Nazi regime from the year of Hitler’s coming to power in 1932 until the AP’s expulsion from Germany in 1941. AP management resisted the pressure while working to gather accurate, vital and objective news in a dark and dangerous time.”

If AP rejects any notion that it deliberately ‘collaborated’ with the Nazi regime, why does your incompetent Warsaw correspondent deny the same right to the Polish Education Minister, who just expects that professional historians and not an anti-Polish charlatan from Princeton University investigate the tragedies during and after the war? More than that: by quoting exclusively the representatives of the political parties, which lost the last parliamentary election – and this not for the first time – (ex minister of foreign affairs Sikorski and Polish journalist Olejnik), she takes party for the former government. Such reporting is typical for newspaper journalism, but it is rather unusual in the coverage of world affairs by an international news agency.

Any news agency reporting on current political affairs, and especially the Associated Press, which together with Reuters, AP, efe and dpa belongs to the “Big Five” should have taken into account the internal conflict within the opposing political parties in Poland, the historical facts, like the massive Nazi operation in Eastern Poland, which led to the death of thousands of Poles and Jews in the pogroms and it should not brainwash the international public with a falsified picture of reality based on the publicistic activity of a fraudulent scholar. Unfortunately, it looks like that the Associated Press has learned very little from its own history and is not able to abide by its own rules as asserted in your own mission statement: “For more than a century and a half, men and women of The Associated Press have had the privilege of bringing truth to the world. That means we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions.”

I would be grateful, if you could have a look at the indoctrination activities of your Warsaw correspondent and prove that you are really an independent news agency bringing truth to the world.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Thanks and best regards

Marek Blazejak, MD, MBA
Polish Media Issues

PS. The copy of this letter goes bcc to the Polish Embassy in Washington, London and Berlin, selected historical associations, press department of the Polish Ministry of Education, the Polish diaspora, and persons and organizations that might find interest in this issue.

By piotrbein