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Polish right-wing group sues Argentinian paper under new Holocaust law

A POLISH group close to the country’s right-wing government has brought the first court case under the country’s divisive new Holocaust law, suing the Argentinian paper Pagina 12.

Pagina 12 published a response to the lawsuit yesterday, which the Polish League Against Defamation (PLAD) filed in Warsaw on Friday, saying that it had become “the first global target of an organisation that collaborates with the Polish government in its objective of censoring those who publish information about the Holocaust.”

PLAD filed its case just a day after the new law took effect. Poland’s government had faced criticism about the law, with some saying that it would stifle research and discussion about the Holocaust, particularly about collaboration with occupying nazi German forces.

Poland’s government insists it is just trying to stop smears against the country, particularly the inaccurate phrase “Polish death camps” to refer to nazi facilities.

Pagina 12’s article, published in December and reprinted in yesterday’s edition, was about a 1941 pogrom by Poles in the town of Jedwabne, where about 340 Polish Jews were killed by their neighbours.

PLAD focused particularly on Pagina 12’s use of a photograph of anti-communist fighters from the 1950s, saying that it showed “great historical ignorance.”

Pagina 12, which found out about the lawsuit through the press, said that, while the choice of picture “may have been an error, it seems absurd to use the photo as a supposed demonstration of the intention to ‘harm the Polish nation and the image of the Polish soldiers’.”

The newspaper compared the Polish law to one in Turkey that bans mention of the Armenian genocide, saying that it was now “a crime to write that there was Polish complicity in the Holocaust.”

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