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Anti-Semitic Incidents In Poland

         People are on edge when it comes to the topic of anti-Semitic occurrences in Poland. Some have even said that I see Poland through rose-colored glasses. In truth anti-Semitic incidents in Poland do exist, and denying it would be living in a dream world. But the fact is, they have become less frequent in the recent past.

 

         The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, which has jurisdiction over many Jewish sites throughout Poland, has just published a report of events that have been passed on to the police for further investigation. Though there are 14 events listed below, others took place outside the Foundation’s jurisdiction, and therefore are not listed. One such example is the recent anti-Semitic graffiti at the Ohel of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk (Lejask).

 

Anti-Semitic Incidents In Poland


Reported By The Foundation

 

         1. Warsaw, January 22, 2002 – Propagating of anti-Semitic contents and calling for hatred towards Jewish people on the Internet website www.polonica.net. Investigation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office was discontinued on September 20, 2007 as no perpetrators were identified.

 

         2. Swidnica, September 1, 2003 – Propagating of anti-Semitic contents on the website www.historianiebezpieczna.kgb.pl/syjon/klinika.html, established by Mariusz R. Investigation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office was discontinued on June 28, 2007, as the case was not classified as an offense.

 

         3. Brzeziny, December 14, 2006 – Devastation of the Jewish cemetery: a commemorative plaque was damaged. Investigation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office was discontinued on March 14, 2007 as no perpetrators were identified.

 

         4. Swidwin, February 26-28, 2007 – Devastation of the Jewish cemetery: a commemorative plaque and matzevot were damaged. Investigation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office was discontinued on June 9, 2007 as no perpetrators were identified.

 

         5. Suwalki, March 2007 (exact date unknown) – Devastation of the Jewish cemetery: swastikas were painted on matzevot. Investigation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office was discontinued on May 8, 2007 as no perpetrators were identified.

 

         6. Warsaw, March 19, 2007 – Anti-Semitic graffiti were painted on the monument of the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes. Investigation is being made by the District Police.

 

         7. Augustów, probably April 8, 2007 – Devastation of the Jewish cemetery: a commemorative plaque was damaged and matzevot were covered with swastikas. Investigation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office was discontinued on September 20, 2007 as no perpetrators were identified.

 

         8. Krakow, April 14, 2007 – Anti-Semitic slogans were shouted and Fascist gestures made by the participants of the NOP (a neo-Nazi organization) demonstration. Investigation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office was discontinued on November 26, 2007 as no perpetrators were identified and the case was not classified as an offense.

 

         9. Warsaw, May 18, 2007 – Participation of David Irving, author of works denying the Holocaust, in the 52nd International Book Fair. After the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland and other institutions, filed a complaint to the organizer of the Fair, a meeting with Irving was cancelled and he was asked to leave the Fair.

 

         10. Tuliszków, probably June 22, 2007 – Devastation of the Jewish cemetery: a commemorative plaque was torn off from the wall and swastikas were painted on a matzevah. Investigation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

 

         11. Bialystok, August 18, 2007 – Devastation of the Jewish cemetery: swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans were painted on the fence and on matzevot. Devastation of the monument of the Bialystok Ghetto Heroes: it was covered with paint and an obelisk was damaged.

 

         12. Bialystok, August 19, 2007 – Anti-Semitic symbols and slogans were painted on houses in Zamenhofa St. and Sienkiewicza St.

 

         13. Bialystok August 26, 2007 – Anti-Semitic symbols and slogans were painted on a building in Zamenhofa St., below the plaque commemorating Ludwik Zamenhof.

 

         A bill of indictment against three suspects was filed in the District Court. They were all members of an organized group called “The Fourth Edition.” They may be sentenced to five years in prison. The case was separated from another one, concerning 11 youths (the youngest are 15 years old); it was transferred to the Family and Youth Court.

 

         14. Suwalki October 25th-27, 2007 – Devastation of the Jewish cemetery: swastikas were painted on the facsimile of the Wailing Wall and on matzevot. Investigation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office was discontinued on November 27, 2007 as no perpetrators were identified.

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The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

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In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

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Growing up in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century, I, along with most people, know very little about the First World War. The little that I did know was about the trench warfare in France and Belgium. The Eastern Front was barely, if ever, mentioned and usually stated that it ended with the Russian Revolution and overthrowing the Czar.

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