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Polish resistance veterans sue German public TV

A lawsuit over a controversial German mini-series that depicts Polish underground fighters in WWII as being anti-Semitic kicked off on Monday in a district court in Kraków, southern Poland.

The case against German public television channel ZDF and producers UFA Fiction has been brought by Zbigniew Radłowski, a 92-year-old veteran of the Home Army (AK), and an international association of former AK soldiers.

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

The plaintiffs claim the TV drama Our Mothers, Our Fathers infringes 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 ‘presented as victims’ of WWII

They say the series contains scenes suggesting the Home Army was complicit in crimes against Jews, while Germans are presented as the victims of World War II.

Those bringing the case are demanding 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 rejected a motion by the defendants for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

The court 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.

Former soldier ‘outraged’

Radłowski, a former Polish Army captain who survived the Nazi-run Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, said 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-occupied Europe that had an official branch of the resistance devoted to saving Jews.

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