February 9, 2021
NEW YORK–World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder expressed his dismay following the announcement of a verdict in a Polish libel case against historians prof. Barbara Engelking and prof. Jan Grabowski for their scholarly work in which they cited the testimony of a survivor regarding the actions of a Polish mayor during the Holocaust.
Commenting on the decision, Lauder said, “As someone who has been deeply engaged with Poland for more than three decades, I am dismayed that a Warsaw court ruled against historians prof. Barbara Engelking and pProf. Jan Grabowski in the misguided libel case that was brought against them. It is simply unacceptable that historians should be afraid of citing credible testimony of Holocaust survivors.
“This outcome does not bode well for the future of historical research in Poland and sends precisely the wrong message to those who seek to stifle the work of scholars. I hope that today’s verdict will be overturned on appeal, and that the day will come when decisions regarding the integrity of history will once again be left to historians and not politicians or judges.”