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News

First Polish Holocaust Denial Case Dismissed

20-12-1999

The regional court in Opole dismissed the case against Dr. Dariusz Ratajczak of Opole University, who was accused of "the Auschwitz Lie," for denying in his book "Dangerous Subjects" that genocide was committed in Auschwitz and Majdanek.

The court ruled that the historian denied Nazi war crime, including the murder of Jews in the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Because of its "negligible social harm," however, this act is not a crime. The court cited the small number of copies of Ratajczak's book that were printed, along with the fact that, in the second edition, the author distanced himself from the holocaust deniers by stating:

"I cannot agree with the statement that there were no gas chambers at the concentration camps in Poland. After all, there are witnesses. However, I do regard the figure of six million Jews exterminated as a result of Nazi barbarity . . . as severely, very severely, exaggerated." In an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza journalist Pawel Wronski, history professor and former Minister of Education Henryk Samsonowicz stated that Opole University should take action against Ratajczak. "There are certain boundaries of tolerance that should not be overstepped within the scholarly community, and that community should be concerned about its own purity. No amount of tolerance, for instance, sanctions the expression of opinions that are an incitement to murder. In the case of Dr. Ratajczak, the issue seems clear to me."

Samsonowicz's opinion was seconded by another former Minister of Education, Prof. Jerzy Wiatr, who stated that Ratajczak had violated his scholarly pledge to uphold the truth, and had failed to do what his university expected of him - to teach in accordance with the current state of knowledge.