İrem UZUN -TDO- Two Holocaust historians were ordered on Tuesday by a Warsaw District Court judge to apologize for "violating the honor" of a Polish village mayor during World War II in a civil libel suit brought by the mayor's 80-year-old niece Filomena Leszczynska.
Judge Ewa Jończyk ruled that professors and co-authors Barbara Engelking at the Polish Center for Holocaust Research in Warsaw and Jan Grabowski, a historian at the University of Ottawa, were guilty of defamation in a 2018 scholarly work Night Without End, which examined the fate of tens of thousands of Jews in Poland during the Nazi occupation. The book Night Without End quoted testimony from a Holocaust survivor who said the mayor, Edward Malinowski, had betrayed the whereabouts of a group of 22 Jews to German soldiers. The group was subsequently executed. Leszczynska said the authors had omitted to say a post-war trial had acquitted her uncle of the charge of collaboration with the Nazis. Her lawyers had demanded the authors pay 100,000 zlotys ($27,000). However, the court rejected this, and ruled the authors submit a written apology for "providing inaccurate information."
Grabowski and Engelking argue the case is an attempt to discredit them personally and dissuade other academics from investigating the truth about the extermination of Jews in Poland. "This is a case of the Polish state against freedom of research," Grabowski told the AP news agency. Grabowski, a Polish-Canadian whose father was a Polish Holocaust survivor, said she has faced anti-Semitic harassment by nationalists, both online and at lectures in Canada, France and other countries.