Holocaust survivors file groundbreaking lawsuit against pro-Nazi publisher

A Polish publisher of  pro-Nazi propaganda and Holocaust denial will face three Polish citizens who survived the atrocities of the Nazi occupation in court.

By: World Israel News Staff

Three Polish citizens have filed a lawsuit against a Gdansk-based publisher for producing books containing pro-Nazi propaganda and Holocaust denial. The books entitled “The Age of Hitler 1” and “The Age of Hitler 2 and  “Hitler the Democrat”, were written by Belgian Nazi collaborator and SS officer Leon Degrelle.

The publisher, Andrzej Ryba, and the publishing company, Katmar, named in the lawsuit, publish a large range of historically-themed books in Poland.

This is the first civil case of its kind ever brought in Poland. The plaintiffs, all in their 80s, include a former fighter of the Polish Home Army and Warsaw Uprising, and two Holocaust survivors, both saved from the Warsaw ghetto as children, whose family members were murdered by the Nazis.

The Warsaw office of Dentons, a global law firm, which conducts pro bono public interest litigation and is supported by The Lawfare Project, a legal think tank and litigation fund that files cases against anti-Semitic discrimination around the world, is representing the plaintiffs.

Speaking to the French news service, AFP, Wojciech Kozlowski, a lawyer with Dentons said, “The promotion of Nazism and Holocaust denial is a criminal offence in Poland, and in theory prosecutable in the criminal courts, but in practice public prosecutors fail to act effectively in the majority of cases”.

The plaintiffs filed a civil action on the basis that the publisher violated their personal rights, including their dignity, their national and historical heritage, their sense of national identity, their right to the memory of the historical truth and their right to respect for their own life-threatening experiences.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the publication and selling of the books, requires the publisher to issue an apology in the Polish press and pay a sum of 40,000 Zlotys to charities of the plaintiffs’ choosing.

Brooke Goldstein, the Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, which is supporting the lawsuit, commented that “Polish law states that Holocaust denial is a criminal offense, but the laws have not been enforced. The plaintiffs decided to file a civil suit, in a case of first impression, and have asked the courts to consider their claims.”

This lawsuit was filed just days before Israel will mark Yom HaShoah, its national Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Thursday.

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