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Poland Overturns Ruling
By Micah Halpern

Saturday August 21, 2021
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An appellate court in Poland rejected a lower courtís decision forcing two Holocaust scholars to apologize for defaming the uncle of a Polish woman who, they said, collaborated with the Nazis.

The case against these two Holocaust scholars has been closely watched around the world. It was expected to serve as a precedent for research into the highly sensitive area of Polish behavior toward Jews during World War II.
Poland is governed by a nationalist conservative party that has sought to promote remembrance of Polish heroism and suffering during the wartime German occupation of the country. The party also believes that discussions of Polish wrongdoing distort the historical picture and are unfair to Poles.

In explaining its decision, the Appellate Court of Warsaw argued that it did not believe that it was the responsibility of the courts to judge scholarly research.
The ruling was welcomed by the two researchers, Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking, who declared it a "great victory" in a Facebook post.

They wrote: "We greet the verdict with great joy and satisfaction all the more, that this decision has a direct impact on all Polish scholars, and especially on historians of the Holocaust.Ē

The ruling comes half a year after a lower court ordered the two researchers to apologize to a woman who claimed that her deceased uncle had been defamed in a historical work they edited and partially wrote, entitled: "Night Without End: The Fate of Jews in Selected Counties of Occupied Poland."

Lawyers for the niece, 81-year-old Filomena Leszczynska, argued that her uncle was a Polish hero who had saved Jews, and that the scholars had harmed her good name and that of her family by suggesting the uncle was also involved in the killing of Jews.

Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II and its Jewish population was subjected to mass murder and slave labor. During the more than five years of occupation there were both Poles who helped the Germans and took part in the killing, and Poles who risked their lives to save Jews.

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23 August 2021 01:56 PM in Thoughts


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