(October 4, 2019 / JNS) Wikipedia had an entry for more than 15 years on its English-language website about a death camp in Warsaw during the years of the Holocaust that did not exist in real life, Haaretz reported on Friday.
The entry for the camp, also known as “Konzentrationslager Warschau,” said that the gas chamber there killed “well above 212,000, mainly Poles and several thousand of non-Polish.” Many in Poland have honored the memory of Poles believed to be murdered with ceremonies, monuments and plaques.
There is no historical evidence of German gas chambers ever existing in Warsaw, making KL Warschau arguably the longest-running hoax ever uncovered on the online encyclopedia. Even the Wikipedia entry “Extermination camp” had KL Warschau listed alongside Auschwitz for over 12 years.
The page was written in August 2004 by the late Wikipedia editor Krzysztof Machocki, a spokesperson for the Polish branch of Wikimedia, and was completely rewritten this August. The hoax was discovered by an Israeli editor with the username Icewhiz who rewrote the article to reflect the truth.
The false facts pertaining to the death-camp hoax included real facts associated with concentration camps.
Haaretz said that Icewhiz’s claims reveal the existence of what seems to be “a systematic effort by Polish nationalists to whitewash hundreds of Wikipedia articles relating to Poland and the Holocaust.”
Professor Havi Dreifuss, head of Yad Vashem’s Center for Research on the Holocaust in Poland, said “this baseless story … is sadly gaining traction today as part of a wider attempt in Poland to distort the history of the Holocaust. By pulling another 200,000 victims out of thin air, they’re trying to equate what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust to what happened to Poles during the Holocaust.”
JNS works around the clock to provide high-quality, pro-Israel content. We’ve taken numerous steps to improve the quality, quantity, and distribution of our content for even greater impact. We intend to keep on growing, and to do that we need your help.
Please help us take pro-Israel journalism to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a one-time or recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.