A court in Warsaw ruled Tuesday that two prominent Holocaust researchers must apologize to a woman who claimed her deceased uncle had been slandered in a historical work that suggested he helped kill Jews during World War II. Lawyers for 81-year-old Filomena Leszczynska argued that her uncle was a Polish hero who had saved Jews, and that the scholars had harmed her good name and that of her family, reports the AP. The District Court in Warsaw did not, however, rule that they should be forced to pay her the equivalent of $27,000, as her lawyers had demanded. The case has been closely watched because it is expected to set an important precedent for independent Holocaust research. The ruling can be appealed, however. At stake in the case was Polish national pride, according to the plaintiffs, and according to the defendants, the future independence of Holocaust research.
Judge Ewa Jonczyk ruled that scholars Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski must make a written apology to Leszczynska for "providing inaccurate information" that her late uncle, Edward Malinowski, robbed a Jewish woman during the war and contributed to the death of Jews hiding in a forest in Malinowo in 1943, when Poland was under German occupation. The judge drew attention to discrepancies in testimony, given at different times, by a Jewish woman. The woman, now deceased, said Malinowski had helped her survive under an assumed "Aryan" identity, but also cheated her out of money and possessions. The book states the woman "realized that he was an accomplice in the deaths of several dozen Jews who had been hiding in the woods and had been turned over to the Germans, yet she gave false testimony in his defense at his trial after the war." More on the case here.
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