A former Auschwitz inmate can seek justice for the use of the phrase “Polish camps” in the media. Even if they didn’t mention them by name. This position was announced by the advocate general of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). Deutsche Welle was the first to publicise the case. Judgments by the CJEU usually coincide with the opinions of its Advocates General.
The opinion of the spokesman of Michał Bobek concerns a preliminary question submitted by a court in Warsaw. It is a case from 2017, when the German regional news portal used the phrase “she was murdered in the Polish extermination camp Treblinka” in one of its articles. The described person was the sister of Stanisław Zalewski, an Auschwitz survivor, president of the Polish Association of Former Political Prisoners of Nazi Prisons and Concentration Camps (PZBWOK).
He asked the Warsaw court to order Mittelbayerische to publish a correction, an apology for infringement of personal rights, and a payment of PLN 50,000 (11 098 EUR) in favour of PZBWOK and a ban on the use of the terms “Polish extermination camp” or “Polish concentration camp” to describe German camps on the territory of occupied Poland.
The publisher of the portal – Mittelbayerischer Verlag – demanded that the claim be dismissed, arguing that the case did not fall under its jurisdiction and that Zalewski was not mentioned in the article by name and surname.
As a result, the question of a binding interpretation of EU law was referred to the CJEU.
Advocate General Bobek, who was approached by Deutsche Welle, stated that EU regulations did not prevent the pursuit of one’s rights in such situations. The decision rests with the court dealing with the specific case.