A landmark lawsuit has been filed in Poland against a publisher who prints Nazi propaganda books.
Three Polish citizens who survived the Nazi occupation of the country have filed what is believed to be the first civil case of its kind ever to be brought in Poland.
It was lodged against a Gdansk-based publisher, Andrzej Ryba and limited company Katmar, who have printed works glorifying Hitler and the Holocaust, by Belgian Nazi collaborator SS officer Leon Degrelle.
The claimants, all of whom are in their 80s, include a two Holocaust survivors who were saved from the Warsaw Ghetto as children – but whose family members were murdered – and a third plaintiff, who is a former fighter of the Polish Home Army and Warsaw Uprising.
Their lawsuit orders the publisher stop selling and distributing two books by Degrelle, entitled “The Age of Hitler 1” and “The Age of Hitler 2. Hitler the Democrat”. In addition, the they demand the publisher apologises in the Polish press and pays 40,000 Zlotys to charities.
Brooke Goldstein, Director of The Lawfare Project which is supporting the lawsuit commented: “These three brave Polish citizens are heroes. 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.”
Wojciech Kozlowski, from Dentons, the lawyer representing the claimants said: “Although promotion of Nazism and Holocaust denial is a criminal offence 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 added that “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”.