Charles Bernstein: poem: Concentration

  Charles Bernstein


  (an elegy)

WHEREAS the media uses the historically erroneous terms ‘Polish concentration camp’ and ‘Polish death camp’ to describe Auschwitz and other Nazi extermination camps built by the Germans during World War II […] BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that […] all news outlets [use] the official name […] ‘German concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Poland.’ — Kosciuszko Foundation petition

[The Polish] government has proposed legislation that would punish the use of the phrase ‘Polish death camps’[…] The Princeton historian Jan Tomasz Gross – who wrote […] that Poles during the second world war killed more Jews than they killed Germans – was questioned by a [Polish state] prosecutor on the charge of ‘insulting the nation.’ ––

The Polish government has approved a new bill that foresees prison terms of up to three years for anyone who uses phrases like ‘Polish death camps’ to refer to Auschwitz and other camps that Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during the second world war. —

Polish death camps
Death camps in Poland
Polish extermination camps
Nazi death camps in Poland
German extermination camps in occupied Poland
Death camps in occupied Poland
Nazi extermination centers in Poland
Polish killing fields
Polish gas chambers
Polish extermination centers
Nazi-occupied Germany
Nazi-occupied France
Nazi occupied Austria
Nazi-occupied Italy
Nazi-occupied Poland
Polish anti-Semites
Polish anti-Semites in German-occupied Poland
Polish guilt
Polish guilt in Nazi-occupied Poland
Polish anti-Semites in Nazi-occupied Poland
Polish victims
Polish guilt in German-occupied Poland
Polish victims in Russian-occupied Poland
Polish Jews
Polish innocence
Jews in Poland
Jews in Polin
Polish Jews in Poland
Polish Jews in New Jersey
Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland
Catholics in Poland
Catholics in Nazi-occupied Poland
Poles in New Jersey
Jewish innocence
Jews in Nazi-occupied Polin
Jewish guilt
Poles who are Jews
Poles who are Catholic
Polish Catholics in New Jersey
Poles who are Poles
Poles who are white
Polish killing centers in German-occupied Poland
German death camps in Poland
Anti-Semites in Catholic-occupied Polin
Yiddish-speaking Poles
Polish-speaking Jews
Polish-speaking Poles
Polish speaking Poles in Nazi-occupied Poland
Polish tears
Polish tears in Nazi-occupied Poland
Jewish blood
Jewish blood in Poland
Polish blood in Poland
Jewish-Polish blood
Polish-Jewish blood
Jewish blood in German-occupied Poland
Jewish fear in Poland
Jewish fear in Nazi-occupied Poland
Tears in Nazi-occupied Poland
Tears in Polin
Polish death camps
Jewish death camps
Polis is Jews
Polis is Poles

     US poet Charles Bernstein, 2016
US poet Charles Bernstein, 2016

Charles Bernstein is the author of Pitch of Poetry (University of Chicago, 2016) and Recalculating (Chicago, 2013). He is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2015 Bernstein was awarded both the Münster Prize for International Poetry and Janus Pannonius Grand Prize for Poetry. More info at


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