Polish group sues Argentinian newspaper under new Holocaust law (The Guardian)

Photograph: Fotonews via Creative Commons

A campaign group with close ties to Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party has filed charges of defamation against a newspaper in Argentina, in the first case to be brought under controversial legislation criminalising any suggestion of Poland’s complicity in the Holocaust on its soil.

The Polish League Against Defamation (RDI) filed the motion in response to an article in Argentinian newspaper Página/12 published in December 2017 – before the new law existed – that accompanied a discussion about the massacre of Jews in the Polish village of Jedwabne in 1941 with a picture of anti-communist Polish partisans.

The RDI argued that confusing the image of the partisans with the issue of Jedwabne amounted to a defamation of Poland.

The law, which went into force on 1 March, has provoked a storm of international criticism amid concerns that its provisions could restrict open discussion of Poland’s wartime history.

Página/12 said in a statement published over the weekend that it had not received official notification of the legal action, which it had learned about through the international media. 

In response, it published testimonies from Argentinians of Jewish origin describing allegations of brutal mistreatment at the hands of their Polish neighbours. It has changed the photo of the partisans to that of a monument in Jedwabne vandalised with a drawing of a swastika.

My report for the Guardian can be found here.

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