WARSAW — A Polish court on Wednesday banned a neo-Nazi group for celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday in 2017, an event that was secretly filmed and then broadcast by a local news channel.
The court in Gliwice, southern Poland, ruled that members of the “Pride and Modernity” (DiN) group who organized the event had been aware that it propagated Nazism, something that is illegal in Poland.
“There was no doubt about the nature of the event” caught on camera, Judge Bozena Klimaszewska said in her ruling, quoted by the Polish PAP news agency.
Aired in January 2018, hidden camera footage of the group celebrating Hitler’s birthday sparked uproar in Poland, a country still grappling with the memory of Nazi occupation during World War II.
Filmed in southwestern Poland and aired on news channel TVN24, the footage showed a group of men wearing Nazi-inspired uniforms performing Nazi salutes.
Poland’s Internal Security Agency was able to identify and arrested three of them.
Searches of their residences turned up Nazi paraphernalia, including uniforms, flags and literature along with an illegal firearm.
The footage also showed large red flags with Nazi swastikas hanging on trees and an altar with a portrait of Hitler.
Participants in the event set fire to a large wooden swastika soaked in flammable liquid that was fixed to a tree as they played a soundtrack of Nazi military marches.
World War II erupted when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939.
Some six million Polish citizens, half of whom were Jewish, perished under the Nazi occupation that lasted until 1945.