Three survivors of Nazi atrocities in Poland file first ever civil lawsuit against publisher of books containing pro-Nazi propaganda and Holocaust denial

Press Release – For Immediate Release
April 9, 2018

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Nathan Miller or Ilana Blum
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In a civil lawsuit, a Home Army veteran and two Polish Holocaust survivors are suing a publisher for distributing pro-Nazi propaganda; lawsuit orders the publisher to cease selling and distributing the offending material and requests a published apology and monetary compensation to be paid out to charities of their choosing

POLAND—Three Polish citizens who survived the atrocities of the Nazi occupation of Poland have filed a lawsuit against a Gdansk based publisher. The publisher being sued, Mr. Andrzej Ryba and publishing company Katmar, published two books by the Belgian Nazi collaborator and SS officer Leon Degrelle, which glorify Nazism and deny the Holocaust.

This is the first civil case of its kind ever brought in Poland. 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 German Nazis. They are being represented by the Warsaw office of Dentons 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.

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. Their lawsuit orders that 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 plaintiffs order the publisher to publish apologies in the Polish press and pay sum of 40,000 Zlotys to charities of the plaintiffs’ choosing.

At issue in this case is the claim that the defendants have infringed the personal rights of each of the plaintiffsby publishing, disseminating and promoting the books which present and glorify fascist and Nazi ideology and theories, glorify Adolf Hitler, and contain examples of Holocaust denial.

Brooke Goldstein, the Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, which is supporting the lawsuit, commented:

“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.”

See early coverage of the lawsuit in the Jerusalem Post, South Africa’s TimesLIVE, and in the Polish press.