WARSAW — Poland's culture minister said Tuesday he had asked museums at former Nazi death camps to drop their Polish .pl Internet suffix to help counter the false impression they were Polish-run.
The minister, Bogdan Zdrojewski, told Polish news agency PAP he had written to the directors of three museums in Poland asking them to use other suffixes for their websites, such as the more neutral, pan-European .eu.
"I've asked them to use the appropriate term systematically," Zdrojewski said.
Warsaw keenly watches the global media for descriptions of such camps as "Polish" because it says the term -- even if used simply as a geographical indicator -- can give the impression that Poland bore responsibility for Nazi Germany's World War II genocide.
The majority of the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust were murdered in death camps set up and entirely controlled by Germany in occupied Poland.
A million of them died at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which has become the era's most enduring symbol.
Poland was home to Europe's largest pre-war Jewish population, some 3.5 million people. Polish Jews represented around half the Nazis' victims.
Around three million non-Jewish Poles were also killed over the six years that followed the Nazis' 1939 invasion, many of them in death camps.
In 1979, Auschwitz-Birkenau was added to the World Heritage List, which covers historically important sites recognised by UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural agency.
In 2007, at Poland's behest, UNESCO approved a formal name change from "Auschwitz Concentration Camp" to "Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp".
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