Polish appeals court upholds ruling that Jewish paper did not have to use term ‘German Nazis’

Katarzyna Markusz

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — A London-based Jewish newspaper did not have to use the term “German Nazis” an appeals court in Warsaw ruled, upholding a lower court decision.

The former head of the Polish League Against Defamation, Mira Wszelaka, had sued the Jewish News under Poland’s controversial Holocaust law that criminalizes references to Polish complicity in the Holocaust.

Wszelaka wanted the newspaper to use German Nazis instead of just Nazis in an Oct. 25, 2017 article about a draft Polish restitution law and to include the information that “Poles did not murder, but saved Jews during the Holocaust.”

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The judgment issued Monday in Warsaw’s Appeals court is final.

Wszelaka in her 2017 suit also called on the newspaper to add to the sentence “90 percent of Polish Jews were killed during the Holocaust” the phrase “by the Germans” to make it clear for readers.

Andrzej Tomaszek, a lawyer representing the newspaper, said the Polish press also uses the term “Nazi camps” without the adjective “German.” The article did not contain terms such as “Polish extermination camps” or “Polish Nazis,” nor did its content suggest that Poles were the perpetrators of the extermination of Jews or confiscated Jewish property during the war.

The District Court in Warsaw had dismissed the claim on May 16 but Wszelaka appealed.

The appeals court decision said the Jewish News article does not contain any content that personally harms Wszelaka and that not every article published about World War II needs to contain an educational element.

“We cannot expect global media to present a full picture of events every time.,” Judge Bernard Chazan said.

The Polish League Against Defamation focuses on fighting for a positive image of Poland and Poles, especially in the context of World War II.