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Posted Tuesday, June 1, 1999

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9.40 a.m. ET (1341 GMT) May 31, 1999

Polish author of book denying Holocaust charged

WARSAW, Poland (AP) Prosecutors in southwestern Poland charged a history professor Monday for writing a book that denies that the Nazis killed millions of Jews in death camps.

The book "Dangerous Themes" by Dariusz Ratajczak violates a Polish law banning the public denial of Nazi and communist crimes, prosecutor spokesman Roman Wawrzynek told the PAP state news agency. If convicted, Ratajczak faces up to three years in prison.

Ratajczak claims in his book that the gas chambers at Nazi death camps were used to kill lice on prisoners. It calls testimony from eyewitnesses "useless" and describes researchers of Nazi crimes as "followers of the religion of Holocaust" who impose on others "a false image of the past," media reports said.

The book was sold in university bookstores.

Ratajczak was suspended from his job at the Historical Institute of the University of Opole [formerly Oppeln] after a commission investigating Nazi crimes in Poland complained to prosecutors about the book in April.

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Our opinion
  A MAJOR slice of the Polish tourist industry depends on visitors to the former Nazi concentration camps and slave labour sites like Auschwitz (although Polish industry still benefits from the huge plants erected by the Nazis using that slave labour).

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