Suspect says ‘Hitler birthday party’ in Poland was staged for payment: official

A man detained by Poland’s Internal Security Agency claims that an event depicted by a TV broadcaster as a “Hitler birthday party” earlier this year had been specially commissioned in return for payment, an official said on Thursday.

Conservative news website wpolityce.pl has suggested that the infamous celebration was a staged event and “a sham for which its organiser was paid PLN 20,000” [EUR 4,500, USD 5,300].

An extensive probe was launched in Poland after private television broadcaster TVN in January aired footage that appeared to show a group of neo-Nazis meeting in a forest in southern Poland and glorifying fascism while celebrating the anniversary of Hitler’s birth.

But Stanisław Żaryn, a spokesman for Poland’s security services chief, said on Thursday that testimony by a man detained in an ongoing probe contained a claim that the event dubbed by the media “the Hitler birthday party” was staged after it was “commissioned” by people unknown to him.

The detained man, identified only as Mateusz S., claims he was offered money for organising the event and allowing a particular individual to attend, Żaryn said in a statement.

“Findings by investigators indicate that the person in question was a TVN journalist,” he added.

Żaryn also said that preliminary findings by the Internal Security Agency (ABW) lent credibility to Mateusz S.’s claim that he had accepted payment.

The Internal Security Agency is conducting further activities to verify Mateusz S.’s testimony in close cooperation with prosecutors, Żaryn said.

He added that investigators “expect cooperation from the TVN station” in following up on the new lead in the probe.

Justice Minister and Prosecutor-General Zbigniew Ziobro told reporters on Thursday that prosecutors were probing whether someone had paid for the “Hitler birthday party” to be held, and that they were also investigating how a TVN journalist had been invited to the event.

Meanwhile, broadcaster TVN denied paying any money to Mateusz S. “or anyone who participated in organising the Adolf Hitler birthday party in the forest near Wodzisław Śląski.”

The broadcaster suggested the detained man was lying. It also said it was considering taking legal steps against anyone defaming the station.

(gs/pk)

Source: IAR, tvn24.pl

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