Polish survivors sue publisher over Holocaust denial books

The books glorify Hitler and deny the Holocaust.

April 9, 2018 15:33
3 minute read.
Polish survivors sue publisher over Holocaust denial books

Protesters light flares and carry Polish flags during a rally, organised by far-right, nationalist groups, to mark 99th anniversary of Polish independence in Warsaw, Poland November 11, 2017. (photo credit: AGENCJA GAZETA/ADAM STEPIEN VIA REUTERS)


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Three Polish citizens who survived the atrocities of the Nazi occupation of Poland filed a lawsuit on Friday against a Gdansk based publisher, NGO the Lawfare Project announced Monday.

The publisher being sued, Andrzej Ryba and limited company Katmar, published pro-Nazi propaganda books entitled “The Age of Hitler 1” and “The Age of Hitler 2. Hitler the Democrat” by the Belgian Nazi collaborator and SS officer Leon Degrelle, which glorify Nazism and deny the Holocaust.

The plaintiffs are all in their 80s and 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. They are being represented by the Warsaw office of Dentons global law firm, which conducts pro bono Public Interest Litigation, and supported by The Lawfare Project, a US-based legal think tank and litigation fund that files cases against antisemitic discrimination around the world.

The plaintiffs have filed a civil action, arguing that the publisher violates 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 extreme experiences involving immediate danger to their life. Their lawsuit orders that the publisher stop selling and distributing both of the books by Degrelle In addition, the plaintiffs order the publisher to publish apologies in the Polish press and pay sums of 40,000 Zlotys to charities.

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The claimants’ attorney Wojciech Kozlowsk said: “This is the first civil case of its kind ever brought in Poland. Although promotion of Nazism and Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in Poland, and in theory prosecutable in the criminal courts, in practice the public prosecutor fails to act effectively in the majority of cases.”

One of the plaintiffs remarked: “The motivation behind my involvement in this case is to protect historical truth about Nazi crimes and to pass this truth on to the young generations of Poles.”

"These three brave Polish citizens are heroes," said Brooke Goldstein, the Director of The Lawfare Project, which is supporting the lawsuit. "Their harrowing testimonies are a reminder of the unimaginable horror of the Nazis. Despite their age, and the trauma of their experiences, it is humbling to see their courage in standing up for the truth.”

The Lawfare Project also charges that the books are virulently anti-Polish.

Quotes from the books, provided by the Lawfare Project, include: "The tragedy of World War II has been monopolized by a pro-Zionist lobby to become the tragedy of Jews only. This is a historical falsehood designed for financial gain. True, there is no controversy that some Jews did suffer in this great fire, which by the way was caused by their own leaders. But playing up that suffering is so out of proportion as to ultimately become harmful to the interests it is designed to serve."

"Such as in the case of gas chambers in which, if we should believe in the numbers quoted by the accusers, the victims would have had to be crowded twenty two people per square meter for twenty four hours a day; or in the case of the crematorium descriptions served up to us, where the furnaces would have to continue working full-time in 2050 or even 2080 to burn all those bodies claimed by the Jewish propaganda.”

"After 1945 Hitler was accused of every possible atrocity, but being cruel was not in his nature. He loved children. For him, it was an entirely natural reaction to stop his car and share his packed lunch with young bikers on the road. One day he gave his cloak to a homeless person struggling in the rain. He used to make a break during work at midnight to prepare food for his dog Blondi. If he did not like cats, it was only because cats hunted birds."

"Poland looked with a greedy eye.”

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