Ex-Auschwitz inmate can seek justice over "Polish death camp" misnomer

A former Auschwitz inmate will be able to seek justice before a Polish court over a German website's use of the term "Polish death camp" in a 2017 report on his sister's death in the World War II Treblinka Nazi extermination camp in German-occupied Poland.

On Tuesday the general spokesperson for the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) said the man will be able to prosecute a local German portal for saying that his sister, who perished in the Treblinka camp, had been "murdered in the Polish extermination camp Treblinka."

The spokesperson said the man will be able to prosecute even if the portal had not named him.

The case goes back to a prejudicial query to the CJEU by a Warsaw court relating to the portal's use of the "Polish death camp" phrase. The woman described in the report was the sister of Stanisław Zalewski, a former prisoner of the notorious Auschwitz death camp in south Poland and current president of the Polish Association of the Former Political Prisoners of Nazi Prisons and Concentration Camps, who filed charges against the German portal.

Zalewski asked the Polish court to ordain the portal to run a correction of the phrase, issue an apology and pay PLN 50,000 (EUR 11,100) to his association.

The portal's publisher, Mittelbayerischer Verlag, demanded that the charges be dropped on grounds that the matter did not come under the Polish court's jurisdiction and that Zalewski had not been named in the report.

In effect, the court referred the case to the CJEU.

On Tuesday the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle informed that CJEU General Spokesperson Michal Bobek said EU laws did not prohibit prosecution in such cases, and that relevant proceedings belonged to the court dealing with the case.