Photographs of Holocaust Survivors saved by Polish diplomats during the second world war. Source: Pilecki Institute FB page, video picture grab.


Exclusive: Holocaust survivor content binned in Polish public TV ‘revolution’


A Polish TV interview with the UK’s Lord (Daniel) Finkelstein recounting the rescue of his family members by Polish diplomats during the Second World War, has been erased.

It has followed the same fate as all similar material on Polish public television’s English language channel TVP World, which has been “de-published” as part of a blanket purge following the Government takeover of public media in December of last year.

The interview covered Lord Finkelstein’s discovery that members of his family were saved during the war by Polish diplomats in Switzerland. At the time they arranged for the issuing of forged passports from Latin American nations for many hundreds of Jews. Lord Finkelstein is the former deputy editor of The Times newspaper.

As a result of that action those people escaped being sent to German Nazi concentration camps.

All TVP World portal material was removed on December 27 when the channel was taken off air. The station’s new management, put in place by the Polish Government, also declared it was removing content from TVP web pages that “did not meet journalistic standards”.

Other subjects removed covered international affairs and history, such as an interview with former British foreign secretary Lord (David) Owen about the Falklands War. Virtually all material on the TVP Weekly webpage covering international, social and cultural issues has also gone.

Jerzy Kamiński, the former acting director of TVP World, was contacted by Brussels Signal on January 27. He was asked to explain the criteria under which material had been taken down from TVP World – but no response was forthcoming.

Still, Brussels Signal has learned from TVP World staffers that management “admitted” it did not have the resources to vet individual pieces of content and had therefore simply decided to remove it all.

The English language TVP service, which has been in operation since 2018, is funded through the Polish foreign affairs ministry, making up some 70 per cent of TVP World’s operating income. Its official task is to provide an international news service from a “Polish point of view” and to concentrate on Central and Eastern Europe.

Michał Broniatowski, a former Reuters, Associated Press, Politico and the Russian news agency Interfax employee, was appointed head of TVP World at the beginning of March.

In recent years, Broniatowski had been a vocal critic of the former conservative Polish (PiS) government and in 2016 he published material on his social media account outlining how a “Maidan”-style revolution might be organised.

The Maidan uprising took place in Ukraine in February 2014, when deadly clashes between protesters and State forces in Kyiv culminated in the ousting of then-president Viktor Yanukovych, the reinstatement of the 2004 Ukraine Constitution and the outbreak of the 2014 Russo-Ukraine War.

Broniatowski’s suggestion came during a crisis in which the Polish opposition occupied the parliamentary chamber and pro-opposition demonstrators attempted to storm the parliamentary building. It was in contrast to his categorical condemnation of the storming of the US Capitol by pro-Donald Trump protesters on January 6, 2021.

When in opposition, the Civic Coalition led by Poland’s now-Prime Minister Donald Tusk, chastised the then-PiS government for making TVP its “mouthpiece” and promised that, in future, public media would be “neutral” and its management selected in a “transparent manner”.

December’s take-over of Polish public media by the Tusk Government has been challenged by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, while the courts have refused to acknowledge either the new management or the appointed liquidators for TVP and public radio.

The takeover and de-publication of vast swathes of text and video content has been accompanied by the dismissal of hundreds of mainly conservative-leaning journalists.

Research by the watchdog Demagog, an independent fact-checking platform in the Czech Republic, of the latest output of TVP’s Polish language channels has indicated what it said was a strong bias towards the new Tusk Government compared to commercial media outlets such as TVN and Polsat.

The changes at TVP have hammered viewer numbers. TVP Info news channel has lost two-thirds of its audience, falling behind the commercial networks’ news channels and conservative station TV Republika, which is only available on cable and online.