Author cleared of defaming 'The Pianist' Wladyslaw Szpilman
PR dla Zagranicy
A Warsaw court has thrown out a case against the author and publisher of a book that had supposedly defamed the memory of late Polish-Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman.
Photo: Author Agata Tuszynska speaks to journalists at the Warsaw District Court. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
The allegations concerned a biography of late singer and Holocaust survivor Vera Gran, and the case was brought to court by Szpilman's widow and son.
In the book, author Agata Tuszynska had quoted Gran as accusing Szpilman – hero of Roman Polanski's film The Pianist – of collaborating with the Germans in Nazi-occupied Warsaw.
However, Judge Bozena Lasota told the court that “Agata Tuszynska did not treat the words [of Vera Gran] as the revealed truth, and she expressed her doubts.
“It is not written that the author agrees with Vera Gran's outlook, and along with it, the most serious accusations [against Szpilman].”
Tuszynska welcomed the ruling.
“This was a case about freedom of speech,” she said.
“If the verdict had been different, a big question mark would have been left hanging over the practice of writing biography and history,” she claimed.
Vera Gran had enjoyed a glittering career as a singer in pre-war Warsaw, but was herself spurned after the conflict amid accusations of collaboration with the Nazis.
The Polish-Jewish singer was twice exonerated of collaborating with the German occupiers, but the mud stuck, and after being rejected by former colleagues, including Wladyslaw Szpilman, she ultimately settled in Paris.
Szpilman's family had demanded an apology from Tuszynska and her publisher, and the family will appeal against the court's verdict.
An English version of Tuszynska's book, Vera Gran: The Accused, was released earlier this year. (nh)