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Polish court tells German broadcaster to apologise over WWII series

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 28.12.2018 12:30
A court ruled on Friday that German public television network ZDF must apologise over a controversial drama series that depicts Polish underground fighters in World War II as being anti-Semitic.
Zbigniew Radłowski (centre) in the courtroom on Friday. Photo: PAP/Jacek BednarczykZbigniew Radłowski (centre) in the courtroom on Friday. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk

The court in the southern Polish city of Kraków ordered that the apology must appear on both ZDF and Polish public television TVP.

The district court also said that each airing of the series should be preceded by a statement that the characters depicted in it are fictitious and that Poles helped Jews during World War II, while Germany occupied Poland at the time.

The judge ordered the payment of PLN 20,000 (EUR 4,645, USD 5,315) in compensation to Zbigniew Radłowski, a 94-year-old veteran of Poland’s wartime Home Army (AK), who sued the German broadcaster and producers UFA Fiction more than two years ago, bringing the case together with an international association of former AK soldiers.

The plaintiffs claimed the TV drama Our Mothers, Our Fathers infringed the personal rights of former Home Army soldiers such as the right to national identity, the right to national pride and dignity and freedom from hate speech.

Germans 'portrayed as victims' of WWII

They argued the series contained scenes suggesting the Polish Home Army was complicit in crimes against Jews, while Germans were portrayed as the victims of World War II.

Those bringing the case demanded an apology on all television channels which screened the series, or for the first broadcast on other channels that bought the drama to be preceded by a statement that Germans were the only nation guilty for the Holocaust.

The court in the summer of 2016 rejected a motion by the defendants for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

The court at the time dismissed arguments that Poland had no jurisdiction over the case. It ruled that a Polish court had a right and a duty to proceed with the case since the series was screened in Poland.

Polish veteran 'outraged'

Radłowski, a former Polish Army captain who survived the German Nazi-run Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, was quoted as saying in July 2016, after watching the TV series on a computer in court, that he was “outraged.”

He added he regarded the film as a deliberate falsification of history by Germans that aimed to “shift at least some of the responsibility for the Holocaust onto Poles.”

Polish critics have pointed out that Poland was the one country in Nazi German-occupied Europe that had an official branch of the resistance force devoted to saving Jews.

The Home Army was an official resistance force that was subordinate to the Polish government-in-exile in London.


Source: PAP, IAR, TVP Info

tags: ZDF
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