‘Polish Death Camps’? Not Anymore! A Simple New Tool Rectifies Historical Mistakes
#language & literature
small, ‘Polish Death Camps’? Not Anymore! A Simple New Tool Rectifies Historical Mistakes, The new Remember application launched by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum in February 2016; photo: www.auschwitz.org, remember_x.jpg
A new application will help avoid the use of the notorious and historically incorrect terms ‘Polish concentration camps’ and ‘Polish death camps’ in written texts, and hopefully make this mistake a thing of the past.
Nazi concentration camps
Polish death camps
The Remember application was designed by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum in co-operation with the Warsaw advertising agency FCB to help avoid the use of the confusing and incorrect terms ‘Polish concentration camps’ or ‘Polish death camps’. The programme searches electronic texts for these terms and suggests appropriate, historically-correct wording, such as ‘Nazi German concentration and extermination camp’ or ‘Nazi camp in occupied Poland’.
The application so far works in 16 languages and can be installed on PCs running Windows or Mac OS. As Agnieszka Heidrich from FCB Warsaw explains:
Upon careful analysis of where and by whom the phrase ‘Polish death camps’ was used, it turned out that those who disseminated this error were mostly journalists. Although we are aware of cases of intentional manipulation, and then a refusal to rectify it, these errors often stem from haste and a lack of knowledge. This was the inspiration for us to develop the Remember application.
The application comes in the wake of the 71st anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz. As Piotr Cywiński, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, explains:
We are sending this application to journalists accredited for the commemoration event. We also encourage editorial teams, institutions, and schools around the world to install it on their computers.
Cywiński explained also the historical context and contemporary reasons behind the idea:
The Auschwitz camp was built by the German state on the territory of occupied Poland which was forcibly incorporated into the Third Reich. It is obvious for all those who visit the authentic site of the Memorial or read our publications. We also underline this through our activities on the Internet. However, every once in a while in the media, this false statement appears, very painful to bear for Poles.
The application works with Microsoft Word on Windows, and with all software using the system dictionary, i.e. Textedit, Keynote, Outlook or Safari browser on Macs.
Remember can be downloaded from the website correctmistakes.auschwitz.org.
There is also a place on the website where anyone who notices the incorrect phrase ‘Polish death camp’ being used can react.
The project was created in cooperation with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and FCB Warsaw, with the support of Mint Media and Macoscope.
Source: www.auschwitz.org; edited: MG, 18 February 2016