Earlier today the Polish Honorary Consul in Akron, Ohio (one of twenty such posts in the United States) was dismissed for allegedly posting a photoshopped image of European Council President Donald Tusk dressed as an SS officer. The honorary consul, Maria Szonert-Binienda, denies the charges, stating to the AP, “I did not make a photo of Donald Tusk as SS-man. I am against promoting SS symbols and ideologies. I am against using the words like ‘fascism’ in the public political discourse today. I am against comparing our politicians to Hitler.” According to an AP report, “One of Mr Tusk’s grandfathers served briefly in the German Wehrmacht during the Second World War, something his political opponents have used against him.”
Szonert-Binienda was appointed by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) run by Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Tusk’s Civic Platform Party currently represents the main opposition to the increasingly illiberal PiS rule, and Kaczynski and Tusk have long been at political-odds, not least because Kaczynski is critical of Tusk’s handling of the 2010 plane crash that resulted in the deaths of Lech Kaczynski, Jaroslaw’s twin brother, and other members of the Polish government at the time. Szonert-Binienda’s husband is currently serving on a government commission reinvestigating the crash.