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WWII survivor says German TV apology ‘not enough’

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 19.01.2017 15:00
A Polish survivor of a Nazi German concentration camp has filed a complaint against German public broadcaster ZDF saying that it failed to fulfill Polish court orders.
Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photo: Flickr.com/Adam TasAuschwitz-Birkenau. Photo: Flickr.com/Adam Tas

The appeal court in Kraków in December ruled that ZDF must run a month-long apology on its main website to a Polish survivor of Auschwitz, Karol Tendera, for using the term “Polish death camps” in relation to Auschwitz and Majdanek.

Lech Obara, Tendera’s lawyer said: “ZDF clearly did not fulfill Polish courts orders, because the apologies were not published on the broadcaster’s main website, although the court decided they should be visible on their homepage for 30 days.”

Obara said that ZDF only published an image linking to the full text of the apologies, instead of the text itself. He also added that the apology published in the form of a picture, did not allow web search engines to find the text.

“I consulted the matter with experts who claim that there were no technical barriers preventing ZDF from publishing the apologies on the homepage,” Obara added. “This is an attempt to manipulate and avoid taking responsibility by the Germany’s largest TV station.”

The December ruling by the court in Kraków, southern Poland, overturned part of a verdict by a lower court.

In April 2016, a Kraków district court found that ZDF had damaged the plaintiff's dignity and national identity.

But it dismissed his complaint, ruling that ZDF had apologized to the plaintiff in a personal letter.

Former death camp prisoner Karold Tendera launched the case over the promotion of a documentary by ZDF about the liberation of Majdanek and Auschwitz, WWII German Nazi death camps on the territory of occupied Poland.

In the promotional material on the zdf.de website, the channel used the expression “Polish death camps”. The description was changed after the Polish authorities protested.

The use of the term "Polish concentration camp” by international media outlets has sparked numerous complaints from Poland in recent years, prompting some news agencies to change their style guidelines.

In 2007, following a Polish request, the World Heritage Committee attempted to clarify the matter by listing the Auschwitz camp as a "German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp".

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