Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2001

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Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Holocaust survivors sue Yahoo! over sale of Nazi items

Associated Press

PARIS -- Holocaust survivors and their families said Tuesday they are suing the chief executive of online giant Yahoo! Inc. and accused the company of downplaying the Holocaust with its former online auctions of Nazi paraphernalia.

The decision to sue chief executive Tim Koogle for a symbolic one French franc - about 15 cents - was a further step in French human rights groups' high-profile, trans-Atlantic legal battle to hold the U.S. Internet portal responsible for racist material that has appeared on its Web pages.

The suit was filed two months after a French court, in response to an earlier lawsuit, ordered Yahoo to block Web surfers in France from auctions where Nazi memorabilia are sold. Yahoo pulled the offensive material from its site earlier this month, while continuing to oppose the ruling.

Angry at Yahoo's attitude, the Association of Deportees of Auschwitz and Upper Silesia filed its suit Monday accusing Koogle of "justifying war crimes and crimes against humanity." The group also wants to hold Yahoo responsible for having once carried Nazi-related items on its site.

The 1,000-member group singled out Koogle because French law stipulates that such charges must be brought against a person, not a company.

People charged with justifying war crimes face up to five years in prison and a $43,000 fine, but the group admits that such heavy sentencing is highly unlikely, especially since Yahoo changed its policy by blocking racist material from its pages at

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based Yahoo said the company had not been served with the lawsuit and had no comment.

Related items on this website:

 Index on Origins of anti-Semitism
 Will Cyberspace Look Like France or America?
 Holocaust survivors sue Yahoo! over sale of Nazi items
 Yahoo! to ban Nazi memorabilia from website
 International Herald Tribune on the yahoo ban: "Who are the real Nazis?"
 Auschwitz Survivors May Sue Yahoo CEO
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