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Polish court to hear WWII massacre case

AFP · 30 Dec 2009, 08:48

Published: 30 Dec 2009 08:48 GMT+01:00

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Judges decided that the case, brought by 71-year-old Winicjusz Natoniewski, should be dealt with because it hinged on a "crucial legal issue", supreme court spokeswoman Teresa Pyzlak told news agency AFP.

"The question is whether the Polish courts have jurisdiction in a case pitting an individual against another state, and whether legal action can therefore be taken," Pyzlak said.

Natoniewski was disfigured by severe burns he suffered during a February 1944 massacre of civilians by Nazi troops and police in his home village, Szczecyn, in southeast Poland.

In his bid for compensation from the German state he had failed to get a hearing in two, lower-level Polish courts before taking his case to the supreme court.

To date, German state compensation to Polish war victims has been paid out under a swathe of bilateral and multilateral agreements.

The supreme court will not rule on Natoniewski's actual compensation claim, but simply whether a lower-level tribunal is empowered to hear his case at all.

Story continues below…

"We have asked the Polish justice ministry for information on the immunity of the the German state, and on international norms and practice. Once the court has that information, it will be able to study the case," Pyzlak said.

The court has not set a deadline for a ruling, she added.

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Your comments about this article

18:25 December 30, 2009 by CJSweatt
Hopefully, in around 20 years, these people will no longer be able to pester Germany with these things. Good riddance....!!!
19:24 December 30, 2009 by zeulf
Thats it Germany, the land of Dichter, Denker and mass murder
19:28 December 30, 2009 by bmck
You miss the point CJSweatt. Germany should have never been a "pester" to villages and towns. Suggest you read 'Silence on Monte Sole' by Jack Olsen.
03:08 December 31, 2009 by Davey-jo
@ CJSweatt

I've a good mind to sue your German state for bombing my parents 65 years ago. I look forward to our RAF finishing off the job it started then.
04:46 December 31, 2009 by janreg58
That's so dumb. Lets just have everybody who lost someone in a war sue the country that did it! Japan can sue the US, and China can sue Japan, and Vietnam can sue the US, and the US can sue everybody!! How about that?! There were war crimes in EVERY war, not just the German American war! The GERMANS should be able to sue , they lost innocent people and young soldiers too, but are they asking for money? NO! How long are we going to persecute Germany? The people or person responsible for those crimes are dead or dying! Stop the finger pointing and move on!
16:31 December 31, 2009 by kamioner
The Poles and Germans should mass execute each other. Throw children into gas chambers, shoot people in the head and let them fall into open graves. Happy New Year.
20:25 December 31, 2009 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
The entity that committed these crimes no longer exists. If this guy wants to sue a bunch of old men living in retirement..well, let him, but I don't think he will find it satisfying. I,and many others, refuse to accept the generational guilt imposed on us. We had nothing to do with those atrocities and consider it criminal that punishments should be imposed on us for the actions of our grandfather.
22:08 December 31, 2009 by kamioner
It must give you a feeling of great family pride to come from such ancestry. Germany and Germans owe the world an unending apology and should admit their guilt. Instead they excuse the criminal behaviour of their grandparents and even support those acts. Shame on you forever.
15:04 January 1, 2010 by janreg58
You show your ignorance if you think the Germans are the only ones that should be punished. Especially when the Russians can openly brag about rapping and murdering women and young girls. How the Americans and English can bomb civilian targets. But thats ok because the Allies won the war, and they can write the history any way they want. I suggest that you read some books about the German side of the war and educate yourself. And the Germans don't owe an unending apology to anyone anymore, they have and are still paying for those who died.
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