Photo by Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images
President Obama awarded a posthumous Medal of Freedom to a Polish war hero on Tuesday, but nonetheless managed to upset much of Poland in the process.
The incident in question occurred when the president was honoring Jan Karski, a resistance fighter in Poland against Nazi occupation during World War II. "Before one trip across enemy lines," Obama recounted of Karski, who died in 2000, "resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself."
The problem? Poland doesn't take too kindly to anyone referring to WWII concentration camps as "Poland death camps." (This has been an issue before.)
After Polish politicians quickly expressed their displeasure with the president's choice of words, the White House said that Obama meant no offense and merely misspoke, CBS News reports.
Still, that wasn't enough to quell Polish anger. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusks responded to the White House correction on Wednesday, saying in a statement that Obama's remarks were "painful" and a "distortion of history," adding "I am convinced that today, our American friends are capable of a stronger reaction."