Kaczyński’s Anti-German Obsession

How anti-German rhetoric is used by PiS in domestic and foreign politics

6 December 2021

Adam Leszczyński

Marcin Król Fellow

Orwellian games with Polish politics of memory and a postmodern twist

On 16 November 2021 the Polish National Broadcasting Council (Krajowa Rada Radiofonii i Telewizji) reprimanded the main state television network — TVP1 — for abusing one quote from Donald Tusk, Poland’s opposition leader.

In only two evening news programmes, on July 19 and 20, the government-controlled network repeated four times a short video of Tusk saying, in German, “für Deutschland” (for Germany). They also played twice a clip of Tusk speaking — on another occasion — “Danke für Alles” (thank you for all).

All of this was completely disconnected from any actual news. The videos are old and have been clipped. They were meant to prove that Tusk is a German lackey, portraying him as almost a traitor and an enemy of ‘true’ Polish national interests. In the symbolic universe of the Polish pro-government media, the fact alone that any Polish politician actually spoke some German serves as proof of his (or her) anti-Polish attitude. The context is not relevant.

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Adam Leszczyński

Marcin Król Fellow

Marcin Król Fellow at Visegrad Insight. Journalist, sociologist and historian with an equal interest in academia as well as working as a senior writer at OKO.press, a non-profit, investigative journalist and fact-checking project, created to preserve freedom of speech and secure access to information in Poland. His main focuses are on Polish politics and history, with special emphasis on the government’s politics of memory.

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