Two Holocaust survivors and a Polish anti-Nazi resistance fighter have filed a lawsuit against the publisher of books praising Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler in a civil case that the plaintiffs’ lawyers said on Monday is the first of its kind in Poland.
The lawsuit against Katmar, a publisher based in the Baltic port city of Gdansk, focuses on two pro-Nazi propaganda books by Belgian Nazi collaborator and SS officer Leon Degrelle entitled The Age of Hitler 1, The Age of Hitler 2 and Hitler the Democrat.
Degrelle led Belgium’s far-right Rex Party before the war, and then became a Nazi SS officer decorated by Hitler.
“The promotion of Nazism and Holocaust denial is a criminal offence in Poland, and in theory prosecutable in the criminal courts, but in practice public prosecutors fail to act effectively in the majority of cases,” Wojciech Kozlowski, a lawyer with the Dentons global solicitors, told AFP.
“This is the first civil case of its kind ever brought in Poland,” he said, adding that prosecutors had rejected a previous suit against the Katmar publications under an article in Poland’s criminal code outlawing hate speech.
The plaintiffs argue that the Katmar publications authored by Degrelle can be regarded as pro-Nazi propaganda rather than a historical record because they do not contain a forward that would contextualise their content.