Poland and Germany row over Shoah guilt

A German television series and a Polish magazine have sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries amid arguments over antisemitism and war guilt.

Polish news weekly Uwazam Rze caused outrage after it depicted German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a concentration camp prisoner in a front page image.

The magazine showed Mrs Merkel behind barbed wire wearing a striped inmate’s uniform alongside the headline “Falsification of history — how the Germans made themselves the victims of World War Two”.

The image came in response to controversy over a German television series broadcast last month called Our Mothers, Our Fathers. It focused on the story of five German families during the war and portrayed Polish resistance fighters as antisemitic. Characters included two brothers, a nurse, an aspiring female singer and a Jewish tailor. Jewish themes were key to the show, with the nurse shown to be coming to terms with her betrayal of a Jewish colleague, and the tailor forced to fight his own countrymen for survival.

Jerzy Marganski, Polish ambassador to Germany, complained that the series was “extremely unjust and offensive”.

In a letter to ZDF, which broadcast the series, Mr Marganski said he was “shocked” that the £12 million production had not looked at the Warsaw uprising or considered the role of Poles who had helped Jews.

But ZDF said it was based on “historically vetted material” and had aimed to create a national debate about war experiences. Producer Nico Hofmann said the portrayal was justified due to widespread antisemitism in Poland during the war.

Last updated: 10:45pm, April 11 2013