Toronto (February 9, 2021) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is dismayed by today's ruling by a Polish court in the libel case targeting two prominent Holocaust researchers. The court ruled that Professor Barbara Engelking of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research in Warsaw and Professor Jan Grabowski from the University of Ottawa must apologize to a woman who claimed her deceased uncle had been slandered in their book Night Without End, which suggested he helped kill Jews during the Holocaust.
In recent years, Poland has engaged in wide-ranging efforts to obscure the facts of Polish complicity in the genocide of Jews during the Holocaust. While the ruling may still be appealed, it could set a precedent that will have a devastating impact on Holocaust research and education.
“It is shocking and shameful to see this effort unfold to hide and obscure the truth about the crimes committed against Polish Jews during the Holocaust,” said Michael Levitt, FSWC President and CEO. “Poland cannot continue to bury the facts and silence Holocaust scholars, and its actions must be roundly rejected by Canada and the rest of the international community.”
“By ordering the scholars to 'apologize,' it puts both historians and victims on trial and offers protection to the reputations of Poles and others who collaborated in the murder of Jews,” said Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “This ruling opens the door to further intimidation of scholars and researchers and is clearly meant to whitewash unfortunate aspects of Polish history and to offer protection for antisemites.”
FSWC is reaching out to senior government leaders today urging them to speak out in the strongest possible terms against Holocaust distortion in Poland and the attempts to rewrite history and hide the truth about Poland’s role in the genocide of Jews.