Court orders Holocaust researchers to apologise for slandering village mayor

Warsaw District Court ordered the two authors: Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski to apologise to Filomena Leszczyńska, the niece of Edward Malinowski the mayor of Malinowo village in WWII, for accusing him of handing over Jews to Germans and robbing a Jewish woman who was waiting for his help. These theses were formulated in the book “Night without End” and contradict the source material, including the memories of the survivors.

Both authors must send a registered letter with an apology to Malinowski's 80-year-old niece, Filomena Leszczyńska, and post them on the website of the Association of the Centre for Holocaust Studies, the book’s publisher.

At the same time the court dismissed the claim of 100,000 PLN compensation for Ms Leszczyńska. The verdict in the case, which has been taking place since 2019, is not final and the historians are already announcing an appeal.

Shortly after the war, the village mayor was accused of collaborating with the Germans on the basis of reports from people who had come into conflict with him. However, these accusations were contradicted by the testimony of witnesses saying that Malinowski had contacted the Germans, but in order to plead for the villagers and prevent them from being deported to forced labour into the territory of the Third Reich.

However, according to the authors of "Night without End", Edward Malinowski supposedly turned over Jews to Germans. Engelking and Grabowski accused him of joint guilt for the death of several dozen Jews. In addition, they stated that he robbed one of the Jewish women, Estera Drogicka, who, after losing her family, asked the village head for help.

These statements were rejected by the court as untrue.

In turn, the president of the Polish League Against Defamation, Maciej Świrski, stated that Barbara Engelking "deliberately or as a result of carelessness" combined the fate of two people named Edward Malinowski into one character.

In his opinion, the publication of Ms Engelking and Mr Grabowski is a slander of the good name of the former mayor of Malinowo and is contrary to the ideas of reliable scientific work.