On Wednesday, a day before Christmas Eve, German-owned liberal Polish portal Onet.pl published an article titled: “On the front, in the camp, under occupation…The saddest Christmas”. The article included a very vivid description of the Christmas of Germany’s Wehrmacht soldiers stationed in Stalingrad in 1942.
The article caused massive outrage online from various conservative journalists, commentators and politicians. Law and Justice (PiS) MEP Dominik Tarczyński harshly criticized the portal and the article.
“This is an absolutely scandalous publication, another one released by the German portal published in Polish, and we must react against this,” he said. Tarczyński said he feels that opposition to the article must be made clear because it suggests that “Germany which occupied our country and murdered Poles actually suffered just as much or similarly to the nations killed by them.”
Onet.pl is owned by Ringier Axel Springer Polska, which belongs to Axel Springer, Germany’s largest newspaper publisher.
The PiS MEP also pointed out that this is just yet another Onet publication which has sparked outrage in Poland.
“They publish this content and spit on Poles, withdraw it, and then the next day comes and they repeat it. They are testing the endurance and patience of Poles. Today, they crossed a border which could not be crossed. Onet reached rock bottom. They will suffer the consequences,” he said.
A few hours after the publication of the article, Onet.pl has removed it from the web and released a public apology written by its Editor-in-Chief Bartosz Węglarczyk:
“The article ‘On the front, in the camp, under occupation…The saddest Christmas’ should not have been published by Onet. I apologize in my name and that of the editorial board. I wish you a calm and healthy Christmas,” he wrote.
Tarczyński referred to the apology and said that he believed that if the editorial board decided to remove the article and the editor-in-chief apologized for it, then they were aware of how absolutely scandalous and unacceptable it was. He added that there will be many more such cases in the future and that the remorse is fake, which is why the public and even the government must respond to the publication.
The PiS MEP announced that he will take action in the European Parliament concerning the continuous publishing of scandalous articles by the Ringier Axel Springer Polska portal. He underlined that he did not accept such manipulation and false creation of social consciousness in context of historic truth. According to Tarczyński, a debate concerning the media is needed to be initiated in the European Parliament.