Actor accepts libel damages over Nazi error


The Independent newspaper has apologised and paid "substantial" damages to a Croatian actor whose picture was used to illustrate a report concerning the death in Germany of an elderly Nazi war criminal.

The article reported on the death in November 2010 of Samuel Kunz, an 89-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard who was third on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals but died without seeing the inside of a courtroom.

The Independent's report, which was carried on the newspaper's front page, mistakenly featured a photograph of 52-year-old Croatian actor Ljubomir Jurkovic captioned: "A war-time image thought to show Samuel Kunz, who was third on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals."

The picture in fact showed Mr Jurkovic in the uniform of a Croatian fascist soldier for a part he played in the 2007 critically acclaimed film The Living and the Dead.

On 17 December 2010, The Independent published an apology in the paper and on its website stating that the image used was not that of Samuel Kunz. The paper has now agreed to pay substantial damages and renew their apology.

Mr Jurkovic's counsel, Christina Michalos, told Mrs Justice Sharp at the High Court this week that the error had understandably caused her client distress, humiliation and upset and that Mr Jurkovic is not and has never been a Nazi war criminal.

Matthew Nicklin, counsel for Independent Print Limited, apologised for the "extremely regrettable mistake".

Miss Michalos added: "I wish to make it expressly clear that the claimant has never committed war crimes, whether during World War II or during the Bosnian war, and has no connection of any kind with such activities and does not subscribe to any form of Nazi ideology."