The last hearing in the trial against prof. Jan Grabowski and prof. Barbara Engelking

January 11, 2021 Reduta Dobrego Imienia

The last hearing in the trial against prof. Jan Grabowski and prof. Barbara Engelking

On January 12, 2021 at 2 p.m. in the District Court in Warsaw, Al. Solidarności 127, the last hearing in the trial against Prof. Jan Grabowski and Prof. Barbara Engelking in the action brought about by Ms. Filomena Leszczyńska for the protection of the personal rights of her uncle, the late Edward Malinowski, who was described in the book ” It Is Still Night” as “complicit in the murder of Jews” during World War II. Prof. Barbara Engelking is the author of the chapter in which such – in our opinion – false information is to be found, she is also the editor of the entire book, together with Prof. Jan Grabowski, who is the content editor of this book.

During the trial, three hearings have been held so far, all the witnesses and the plaintiff, ie Ms Filomena Leszczyńska, have already been heard. At the next hearing, Prof. Barbara Engelking and Prof. Jan Grabowski will be questioned and the closing speeches will be given.

Let us recall: According to Filomena Leszczyńska, the authors of the publication “It Is Still Night” presented false information about one of the Polish heroes – Edward Malinowski, who  hid Jews during WWII. Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski in their book called him complicit in the death of Jews. The “Reduta Dobrego Imienia” foundation is defending Edward Malinowski’s good name by supporting his niece in the trial against the authors and providing legal assistance. Edward Malinowski, uncle of Filomena Leszczyńska was presented in  excerpts of the publication “It Is Still Night” as “complicit in the death of several dozen Jews who were hiding in the forest near Malinów and were turned over to the Germans.” The lawsuit indicated that the publication by Grabowski and Engelking presented a false version, and such actions harm the personal rights of not only his niece, but every Pole.

During the Second World War, Edward Malinowski, described in the defendants’ publication, according to the sentence passed in 1950, concealed Jews. In 1943, Edward Malinowski was appointed by the Germans, as Head of the Malinów village. This function was also associated with being a hostage – if  it  was discovered that Jews were being hidden by anyone in the village, the hostage was killed. One day in 1943, the Germans came to his village to search for Jews in shelters in a nearby forest. They ordered the gamekeeper from Czerna (a nearby village) to be brought, and after his arrival they went with Malinowski the village Head and a few other people from the village to the forest,  ordering the peasants accompanying them to take shovels. In the forest, the Germans, using the information obtained from the gamekeeper, found the underground shelter and killed the Jews hiding there. After World War II, Edward Malinowski was arrested by the Communist Security Service as a result of a neighbour’s denunciation and charged with the murder of Jews. After the trial in which some of the the Jews he hid testified, Malinowski was  acquitted.

In the publication “Itis still night”, Barbara Engelking, describing the fate of one of the Jewish women (M. Wiltgren) who was hidden by Edward Malinowski, she wrote that “he is complicit in the death of several dozen Jews who were hiding in the forest and were turned over to the Germans.” At the same time, in the source data, in a footnote to this fragment of the book, the author quoted the files of Malinowski’s trial from 1950 in such a way that the reader would not know that Malinowski  hid and fed her for no payment. During the trial, it also turned out that Barbara Engelking, either deliberately or due to, carelessness, merged  several people named Malinowski who lived in this village during World War II in to one person – Edward Malinowski. Additionally, the professors relied on a recording made by M. Wiltgren in 1996. According to the claimant, the researchers did not confront her story with another available biography. The files of the Institute of National Remembrance contain the files of Maria Wiśniewska, who, in 1947, signed a contract for paid collaboration  with the Communist Security Office, and the Institute of National Remembrance has preserved her file entitled “personal files of a civilian employee of the Security Office”. In these files Maria Wiltgren (then known as Maria Wiśniewska) also presented her biography .

“It should also be emphasized that the information about Edward Malinowski in the book” It is Still Night “comes – as the defendant professors claim – from the testimony of Maria Wiltgren (formerly Maria Wiśniewska), submitted in 1996. However, Maria Wiltgren mentions in her testimony  two different Edward Malinowskis, because during World War II she met two people who had the same name and surname (Edward Malinowski), but they were two completely different individuals.

In this case, a very solid verification of historical sources should have been  carried out. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the authors of “It is Still Night” did not do this, slandering an innocent man, and in doing so, harm the personal rights of not only the niece herself, but every Pole – emphasizes Maciej Świrski, President of” Reduta Dobrego Imienia”, who supports Filomena Leszczyńska in fighting for her uncle’s good name. Filomena Leszczyńska, with the support of RDI, demands, among other things – removing the effects of infringement of personal rights, by the public submission of declarations and compensation in the amount of PLN 100,000. “Reduta Dobrego Imienia” not only supports Filomena Leszczyńska moraly, but also financially, i.e. by incurring the costs of this case (fees of lawyers, Courts, administrative as well as those of experts and historians).

RDI launched a special website where the entire course of the case is described.