Ambassador to Switzerland reacts to dispute with Swiss daily

Polish Ambassador to Switzerland reacted to the ongoing issue regarding an article in Swiss daily, to which his response was refused to be published.

Swiss daily refuses to publish PL ambassador’s comment

see more

The December 12 publication in "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" argued that “Central and East Europeans”, including Poles, played a “role” in the Nazi German Death Camps. The daily refused to publish a response written by the Polish Ambassador to Switzerland, Jakub Kumoch. He discussed the issue in a Facebook post published on December 20.

“I would like to make one issue clear. My polemic with "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" referred to one specific sentence, in which ‘local citizens’ were presented as people co-responsible for the creation of ghettos and the functioning of the death camps. They were not! Non-Jews who were expelled from ghettos, from their own homes, were not the perpetrators, just as locals had no say when deaths camps were built”, the post reads.

Mr Kumoch continues that he does not “agree on discussing collaborating governments without indicating that some Central and Eastern European governments had never collaborated with Nazi Germany. Moreover, I do not agree with isolating Central and Eastern Europe as the only region stained with blood. The Netherlands, France, many other Western countries including Switzerland all have their history connected with the Holocaust which is in no way better.”

“Had the article only been limited to the statement that many Europeans, including ethnic Poles, contributed to the Holocaust, or that collaboration was present in Poland, no protest would have been raised. It is a fact. I know people who suffered from the hands of collaborators”, Mr Kumoch writes.

“On the other hand, the refusal to publish my response would not be so painful if it was not followed by a justification: ‘We already have the statement of the Croatian Ambassador so we will not publish the reaction of the Polish one.’ However, the statement published was accompanied by a photograph of the Warsaw Ghetto… It shows that for this newspaper, Central and Eastern Europe constitute just one ‘heart of darkness’...

According to Mr Kumoch, this dispute represents a bigger problem - a state of consciousness in the Western media elites, which treats all the territory east of the former Iron Curtain as one ‘grey area.’ He contrasted that with the perception of the average Swiss citizen who does not think in such a way.

Mr Kumoch concluded that he does not wish to commence any legal action against the daily, as “I am a supporter of free speech and the article presents opinions, generalisation, nothing more. Words should be countered with words.”