PM tells media owner to not ‘twist the truth’ over 1920 Battle of Warsaw

PM Morawiecki told the head of Axel Springer in Poland that ‘no one is allowed to relativize history’ and ‘we cannot allow the true picture of this war to be distorted.’ Paweł Supernak/PAP

PM Mateusz Morawiecki has written to the head of Poland's branch of the Swiss-German media group Ringier Axel Springer (RASP) press publishers over coverage of the 1919-20 Polish-Bolshevik War in which Poland defeated a Europe-advancing Red Army.

In his letter to Ringier Axel Springer Poland (RASP) head Marek Dekan, the PM expressed concern over two articles that appeared on the publisher’s ONET news portal and in Newsweek about the 1920 Battle of Warsaw.

Morawiecki wrote a three-page letter in both English and Polish in response to articles appearing in Newsweek and the Onet news portal recalling the memories of a Red Army doctor held in a POW camp which he describes as ‘hell on earth’.Mateusz Morawiecki/Facebook

The articles in question, "What the Poles are doing is unspeakable. A Red Army physician's moving letters to his wife from the front" and "The truth about the fate of Soviet POWs in the 1920 war. Hell behind wire," looked at the experience of the battle from the perspective of a Red Army doctor.

Morawiecki said: "Their context carries a severe threat for unaware readers. There can be no consent to any re-evaluation of the roles in this conflict, nor the selective, ahistorical treatment of certain facts and putting the suffering of the defenders and the aggressors on the same level. The truth lies in the interest of us all. It is not particular but fully universal. We should all defend it."

The PM wrote that “there can be no consent to any re-evaluation of the roles in this conflict, nor the selective, ahistorical treatment of certain facts and putting the suffering of the defenders and the aggressors on the same level.”Mateusz Morawiecki/Facebook

He added that Poland, which was the victimised side in the war, could not permit the conflict's history to be falsely presented. "As the victim of Soviet aggression we cannot allow the true picture of this war to be falsified.

"No one is allowed to relativise history. Today's media, and especially the internet, are burdened with enormous responsibility for (their - PAP) words. I would say, that to a degree unprecedented in history. Their scope, power and influence on public opinion are greater than ever."

The letter added that Poland continues to be open to debate about the Polish-Bolshevik War.Mateusz Morawiecki/Facebook

Morawiecki wrote that everyone had a free choice of media, and that freedom of debate and speech were fundamental for democracy.

He said: "I will always be a supporter and defender of pluralism in the media. However, as a citizen, internaut and historian I want to take a stand on the articles appeared on the Onet portal and in the Newsweek Poland weekly on the anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw."

"This is why I directed a letter to the RASP head, whose content I have posted below. Please feel free to read, comment, and, of course, share it," he added.

The articles in question,  "What the Poles are doing is unspeakable. A Red Army physician's moving letters to his wife from the front" and "The truth about the fate of Soviet POWs in the 1920 war. Hell behind wire," looked at the experience of the battle from the perspective of a Red Army doctor. Newsweek/Onet

 Morawiecki also mentioned Poland’s experiences with communist terror, and said they were attested to by many testimonies and witness accounts.

 The PM added that Poland continues to be open to debate about the Polish-Bolshevik War.

"But as the victim of Soviet aggression was cannot permit the true picture of that terrible war to be falsified," he concluded.