03 February 2011
The Polish government has issued an official request asking museums at former Nazi death camps located on Polish territory to replace their Polish internet suffix ‘.pl.’ with more neutral suffixes such as ‘.com’ or ‘.eu’ in order to counter the false notion that the camps were run by Poland. Bogdan Zdrojewski, the country’s culture minister, said he had asked the authorities at the Auschwitz Museum, along with their counterparts at the former Majdanek and Stutthof concentration camps, to change their domain names. “I have asked them to be consistent in using the appropriate German names of the camps, and this applies also to the internet,” he said. “At the moment the ‘.pl’ is misleading and might make people associate the camps with Poland.” Zdrojewski said he had set no deadline for the removal of the suffix as he wanted to avoid the museums incurring any financial costs during a change. The State Museum at Majdanek has already implemented the change.
The minister's move reflects a concerted effort in Poland to underline the fact that although many of the death camps were located in wartime Poland, they were set up and run by Germans. Poles often react with anger and indignation to any description of a Nazi camp as “Polish”. Most of the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust were murdered in death camps set up by Germany in occupied Poland. Over a million Jews died at Auschwitz-Birkenau alone. Poland was home to the largest population of European Jews before World War II, and Polish Jews represented around half the Nazis' victims.
In 2007, UNESCO approved a formal name change request by Poland from "Auschwitz Concentration Camp" to "Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp".
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