A 97-year-old Auschwitz survivor hopes to take German public broadcaster ZDF to Europe’s top court for calling Nazi camps “Polish,” his lawyer says.
The announcement is the latest development in a dispute that started when ZDF — while publicizing a 2013 documentary — erroneously described the Nazi-German death camps Auschwitz and Majdanek in occupied Poland as “Polish extermination camps.”
The issue is highly sensitive in Poland, which this year passed a law to penalise statements that ascribe “responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich.”
After complaints from the Polish embassy, ZDF corrected the wording of its trailer and later repeatedly apologised, but a Krakow court in 2016 ruled that it must publish a specifically-worded apology on its website.
Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, however, on Tuesday said that the Polish ruling against ZDF had no legal force in Germany, adding that the “exercise of state coercion to publish the pre-formulated statement… would manifestly violate the defendant’s right of freedom of expression.”