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Polish court: German TV must recant portrayal of anti-Nazi group as anti-Semitic

2013 series on World War II under fire for depiction of Polish resistance movement; German ZDF broadcaster ordered to publish apology on website

Polish Armia Krajowa soldiers are depicted in the German 'Generation War' TV series. (Youtube screenshot)
Polish Armia Krajowa soldiers are depicted in the German 'Generation War' TV series. (Youtube screenshot)

WARSAW, Poland — A Polish court on Tuesday upheld a ruling against German channel ZDF, saying it should apologize over its portrayal of Polish anti-Nazi fighters in its fictional TV series “Generation War.”

The case was brought by Zbigniew Radlowski, a 96-year-old veteran of the wartime Armia Krajowa, the Polish National Army directed by the government in exile in London.

Radlowski, a former concentration camp inmate who saved Jews during the war, objected to the portrayal of AK soldiers as vehement anti-Semites in the series.

The Krakow court ruling, quoted by the PAP news agency, stated that ZDF must apologize to Armia Krajowa veterans “for suggesting that this military organization had an anti-Semitic character.”

The German channel was also ordered to broadcast its apology on German and Polish television and to publish an apology on its website, leaving it there for three months.

When it appealed the initial ruling in 2018, ZDF had said that “the portrayal of the Polish characters in no way constituted a minimization of historical fact nor of Germany’s responsibility.”

The series, which was first aired in 2013, tells the story of five young Germans between 1941 and 1945.

One of the heroes, Viktor, is a Jew who manages to escape while being taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, which Nazi Germany built in occupied Poland.

He goes on to join the AK resistance, which numbered around 400,000 people.

Poland lost six million citizens including three million Jews during the war.

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