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Dariusz Ratajczak (born November 28, 1962) is a Polishmarker historian (formerly of the University of Opolemarker), publicist and right-wing activist. In 1999 he was convicted of Holocaust denial in Poland.

Biography

Ratajczak was born in Opolemarker, Upper Silesia, Polandmarker. His father, Cyryl, moved from Wielkopolska to Opole after finishing Law studies. His mother, Alina Czuchryj arrived from Khodorivmarker. Dariusz Ratajczak finished Opole high school and enrolled to Adam Mickiewicz Universitymarker in Poznanmarker, as Ratajczak noted, because he wanted to make his father happy. From 1988 Ratajczak was working in the Opole higher education institution. Dariusz Ratajczak was a history lecturer at the University of Opolemarker until 1999, when he was dismissed following controversy about his book Dangerous Topics in which he asserted that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were used merely to delouse prisoners. He has published articles in right-wing magazines like Myśl Polska and currently, he cooperates with Najwyższy Czas, a weekly magazine of the political party Unia Polityki Realnej, where he writes articles on history.

Holocaust denial

According to Ruth E. Gruber report, Dariusz Ratajczak, in his book Tematy Niebezpieczne ("Dangerous Themes"), appears to agree with Holocaust deniers who claim that for technical reasons it was not possible to kill millions of people in the Nazi gas chambers, that Zyklon B gas was used only for disinfecting, that there was no Nazi plan for the systematic murder of Jews and that most Holocaust scholars "are adherents of a religion of the Holocaust". Rajtaczak would defend himself claiming that he only reproduced the Holocaust deniers claims to illustrate their point of view but did not endorse them.Ratajczak's book triggered widespread public criticism and drew protests from numerous sources, including the director of the museum at the former Auschwitz death campmarker, senator Wladyslaw Bartoszewski Polish mainstream academic community and bishop of Lublin.

The University of Opole suspended Dariusz Ratajczak from his teachings in 1999. In the same year he was brought to local court, as denying the existence of the Holocaust is a criminal offence in Poland. In December 1999 a court in Opolemarker found Ratajczak guilty of breaching the Institute of National Remembrance law that outlawed the denial of crimes against humanity committed by Nazi or by communist regimes in Poland, but that his crime had caused "negligible harm to society". The reason for the low sentence was that Ratajczak's self-published book had only 230 copies and that in the second edition and public appearances he criticized the Holocaust denial.

The verdict was criticized by some, like former victims of Nazi crimes, as too lenient. Two mainstream liberal Polish newspapers like Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita criticized the verdict in support of Ratajczaks' freedom of speech. For Ratajczak support spoke and one of the leaders of League of Polish Families party Ryszard Bender, who during Radio Maria broadcast, denied the fact that Auschwitz was a death camp, which caused another scandal in Poland.

At the end Dariusz Ratajczak was fired from University of Opole in 2000 and banned from teaching at universities for three years. During this time he worked as storeman.

Ratajczak remained defiant and denied all charges, appealing for an outright acquittal; his critics also appealed demanded a harsher sentence, including a prison term. Eventually after a series of appeals the verdict was upheld and the case dismissed in 2002.

A scandal surrounding a Ratajczak’s book whose publication represents what some described as the first serious case of Holocaust denial in the Poland (although there have been others).

Ratajczak revised the book in 2005, attributing the claims regarding Zyklon B to historical revisionists.

Political activity

In 2002 Ratajczak was considered as a candidate from the League of Polish Families for the Opole's voivodeship sejmik, but after his candidature caused controversy he resigned it.

Works

  • Polacy na Wileńszczyźnie 1939-1944 (Opole 1990)
  • Świadectwo księdza Wojaczka (Opole 1994)
  • Krajowa Armia Podziemna w powiecie prudnickim 1949-1952 (współautor, Opole-Gliwice 1996)
  • Tematy niebezpieczne (Opole 1999)
  • Tematy jeszcze bardziej niebezpieczne (Kociaty, New York, 2001)
  • Inkwizycja po polsku, czyli sprawa dr Dariusza Ratajczaka (Poznań 2003)
  • Prawda ponad wszystko (Opole 2004)
  • Spowiedź "antysemity" (Opole 2005)


References

  1. Professor who denied Holocaust can't teach in Poland for 3 years Retrieved on 2008-03-19
  2. Times Higher Education Supplement, 21 April 2000 by Vera Rich; retrieved on 23 October 2008
  3. MACIEJ T. NOWAK, Prawomocnie winny kłamca, GW Opole nr 132 09/06/2002MIASTO, str. 3. Retrieved on 19 March 2008.
  4. Stephen Roth, Stephen Roth Institute, Antisemitism Worldwide, 2000/1, U of Nebraska Press, 2002, ISBN 080325945X, Google Print, p.200
  5. Cas Mudde. Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe.2005, Google Print, p.173 ISBN 0415355931
  6. BBC News. World: Europe Trial of Pole who denied Holocaust. Retrieved on 2008-03-19
  7. Konrad Kwiet, Jürgen Matthäus, Contemporary Responses To The Holocaust, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004, ISBN 0275974669, Google Print, p.162
  8. Cas Mudde. Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe.2005, Google Print, p.173 ISBN 0415355931
  9. Cas Mudde. Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe.2005, Google Print p.159 ISBN 0415355931
  10. Barbara Larkin, International Religious Freedom (2000), DIANE Publishing, 2001, ISBN 0756712297, Google Print, p.348
  11. "Polish appeals court drops case against professor charged with Holocaust denial". Retrieved on 2008-03-19
  12. Polish professor fired after writing Holocaust-denial book. Retrieved on 2008-03-19
  13. http://wyborcza.pl/1,76842,4788038.html
  14. Ratajczak zrezygnował. Retrieved on 2008-03-19



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