The Stack Archive

Auschwitz creates ‘Remember’ app to correct ‘Polish death camp’ misnomer

Wed 17 Feb 2016

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum has announced the release of a new app called ‘Remember’, created to help users avoid the use of terms such as ‘Polish death camp’ or ‘Polish extermination camp’, calling the error to the writer’s attention and suggesting more appropriate wording.

This is an important distinction for the Polish people. The use of the term ‘Polish death camp’ implies Polish responsibility for atrocities committed by the German Third Reich on Polish soil. Auschwitz was built by the German Third Reich in occupied Poland, and the implication that the Polish people were involved or responsible for Auschwitz is “very painful to bear for the Poles”, according to Dr Piotr M. A. Cywiński, the director of the Auschwitz Museum. “The Auschwitz camp was built by the German state on the territory of occupied Poland which were forcibly incorporated into the Third Reich. It is obvious for all those who visit the authentic site of the Memorial or read our publications. We also underline this through our activities on the Internet.”

remember-word-add-inThe Remember app works like a proofreader. Once installed, it detects phrases like ‘Polish death camps’ or ‘Polish extermination camps’ and suggests more accurate wording, such as ‘German extermination camps’, ‘German death camps’, or ‘German death camps in Poland.’ Remember works with Microsoft Word on the PC, and is incorporated into all software on the Mac through the system dictionary.

Creation of Remember was initiated by FCB, a Warsaw advertising agency which found that the phrase ‘Polish death camps’ was used most often by journalists, and in most cases was attributed to haste or lack of knowledge (although they did acknowledge certain cases where it was intended to be intentionally misleading, and people refused to correct it.)

remember-auschwitz-interfaceAgnieszka Heidrich, a spokesperson for FCB Warsaw, said, “We decided to make use of the primary tool used by text writers and create an easy to install add-on that finds the mistake made and suggests a correct phrase.”

Remember is available for download on the Auschwitz-Berkinau Museum website. It is currently available in 16 languages, although work is in progress to add more. The application will be sent directly to journalists associated with the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, but director of the museum Piotr Cywiński encourages everyone to take advantage of it, particularly editorial teams, schools, and other institutions.

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