Monday, 5 November 2007

War veteran takes Germany to court

Winicjusz Natoniewski, a 69 year-old Polish man who was six years old when German soldiers attacked the village of Szczecyn in Eastern Poland in 1944, has lodged a suit against Germany at the local court in Gdansk claiming 1 million zloty (£191,000 or 360,000 euros) in damages for the trauma he says he suffered. The Germans burned down the village and killed 360 villagers for allegedly supporting anti-Nazi partisans. As his lawyer points out, this is the first such claim lodged before a Polish court. The lawyer expects that thousands of other Poles may follow suit and lodge claims against Germany. He said that the acts committed should be subject to no statute of limitations because they were crimes against humanity. It is likely that Natoniewski’s suit will generate copycat claims because the Polish chamber of lawyers has recommended that its members make no charge to their clients if they help bring such suits. The lawyers say that people from Eastern Poland have an especially strong claim because they have to date received no money from the German-Polish Reconciliation Foundation. Indeed, a similar claim has been launched by a famous designer, Krzysztof Skrypek, who has asked for a monthly pension of 2,000 zlotys and a lump sum of 200,000 zlotys from Germany because he says that his father was subjected to medical experiments by the Nazis and that he, the son, suffered psychological damage as a result. [Paul Flückiger, Die Welt, 29 October 2007]

---- An excerpt from Dr. John Laughland's Intelligence Digest. For a free e-mail subscription to the Intelligence Digest, please click here ----

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