History: German WWII film sparks outrage in Poland

28 June 2013 – Presseurop Polska The Times, Gazeta Wyborcza

“Poles, I hurt you. I am sorry,” headlines Polska The Times, quoting Nico Hofmann, the German producer of Our Mothers, Our Fathers a controversial televised drama about the Second World War.

As the miniseries aired on Polish television last week, commentators lambasted it as “scandalous”, “offensive” and “unjust” for its seemingly blatant portrayal of Polish Home Army (AK) soldiers as anti-Semites. In one of the scenes, when the AK unit assaults a train with Jewish prisoners locked in a boxcar, a Polish partisan says they should be left to die “just like communists or Ruskies”, while another boasts “we drown Jews like cats”.

GW’s columnist argues the German drama

is a bad film, and the false image of the Polish Home Army (AK) is an embarrassment for its producers and consultants.

More radical journalists even accuse producers of trying to whitewash Nazi crimes. In an exclusive interview with Polska the Times, Hofmann admits he should have consulted Polish historians before releasing the series, adding that he was completely taken aback by the Polish reaction:

I didn’t see it coming [...] I have many Polish friends, and I know the country. When I was a young man, I travelled across Poland by bus. So, the wave of criticism coming from Poland is painful for me, but I understand it. I can guarantee that, having watched the debate unfolding in the past weeks, I would have done scenes in Poland differently.

Factual or translation error? Tell us.