EP committees to address German court ruling on 'Polish death camps'

The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs and Committee on Culture will deal with the issue of the failure of the German ZDF television to execute the judgment of the Polish court regarding an apology for using the term "Polish extermination camps."

In 2013, Karol Tendera, a former Auschwitz prisoner, took ZDF to court for its use of 'Polish death camps Auschwitz and Majdanek'. In 2016, the Krakow appellate court ordered ZDF to apologise on its website for referring to Nazi German death camps as "Polish."

In the autumn of 2017, the Polish Supreme Court received a cassation appeal against the verdict of a Krakow court which ruled that the German broadcaster was to apologise to Tendera for its use of the misnomer 'Polish death camps.' In late September, ZDF television withdrew its cassation appeal and has never executed the judgement.

Last year, the German Federal Justice Tribunal (BGH) ruled that a Polish verdict punishing ZDF for its reference to Nazi German death camps as "Polish" cannot be enforced in Germany, as this would be "an obvious violation of the fundamental right of freedom of opinion and the media."

In this case, Polish lawyer Lech Obara, on behalf of the Patria Nostra Association, that prevents foreign media from misrepresenting Polish history, and the Polish Association of Concentration Camp Prisoners, submitted a petition to the EP Committee on Petitions with a request to deal with the case.

The EP committee has decided in recent days that the case is so important that it should be dealt with in the European Parliament. In the coming months, it will be handled simultaneously by the Committee on Legal Affairs and the EP Committee on Culture. The European Parliament will also inform the European Commission about the case.

The Germans established the Auschwitz camp in 1940, initially for the imprisonment of Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later. It became the site for the mass extermination of Jews. There was also a network of sub-camps in the complex. The Germans killed at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz, mainly Jews, but also Poles, Roma and Soviet PoWs.