Ex-Auschwitz prisoner cant' use Polish court over 'Polish camp' slur

Paweł Supernak/PAP

A former Auschwitz prisoner cannot seek justice in a Polish court over the use of the term 'Polish camp' by German media, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled on Thursday.

Stanislaw Zalewski, a former Auschwitz prisoner and current president of the Polish Association of the Former Political Prisoners of Nazi Prisons and Concentration Camps, had sought an apology and PLN 50,000 (EUR 11,037) in damages for the 2017 use by Bavarian media - the B5 radio station and regional web portal Mittelbayerische - of the term 'Polish camp' to describe the Treblinka Nazi death camp.

However, German lawyers questioned the right of Polish courts to rule in the matter, arguing that the case should be brought before a German court. The case went to the CJEU, which on Thursday ruled in favour of the German plaintiffs.

The CJEU ruled that a court could only judge in the matter if the plaintiff could be personally identified in the media content.

In the assessment of the CJEU, there was no connection between the Polish court an the subject of the dispute, as a result of which, it had no right to hear the case.