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News From Poland

Polish Coalition Makes Jews Uneasy




The conservative minority government of Poland’s Law and Justice party has agreed to enter a coalition with two extreme-right parties. The two parties that signed the agreement, the League of Polish Families and the Self-Defense party, have a history of anti-Semitic stances. Jan Maria Jackowski, a prominent member of the League of Polish Families, has warned against Poland becoming a “land reserve” for Jewish settlement, and called accusations of pedophilia against a Polish priest a “Judeo-Communist plot.”


The party is also closely aligned with Radio Maryja, frequently cited for its anti-Semitic broadcasts. Andrzej Lepper, leader of the populist Self-Defense party, has referred enthusiastically to Goebbel’s “propaganda skills” and Hitler’s “economic policy,” according to the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University. According to Polish media reports, Lepper has also received an honorary degree and supported Ukraine’s Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, or MAUP, which frequently publishes anti-Semitic material. The Law and Justice party has struggled to form a coalition since a narrow parliamentary election victory in September.

 

Good Friday March Criticized In Poland




The Simon Wiesenthal Center complained about the “anti-Semitic tenor” of a Good Friday procession not far from the Auschwitz death camp. Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for international relations, wrote to Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Meller that the ceremony, which included marchers with long beards and Stars of David, fueled stereotypes of Jews.


“This ceremony contravenes Polish responsibility to combat anti-Semitism under its obligation to the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” he wrote. The center urged Poland to discipline organizers to ensure that such desecration is not repeated. “To do otherwise would endorse a message to Polish youth that is in contradiction with this new era of Polish-Jewish reconciliation,” Samuels wrote.

 


Pope’s Auschwitz Visit Finalized




Details of Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming trip to Poland have been announced by the Vatican: A stop at Auschwitz is set for the last day of the pope’s May 25-28 visit, during which he is expected to deliver a significant address. At the former Nazi death camp, he will visit the site’s Centre for Dialogue and Prayer and take part in a memorial service for Nazi victims, according to the Catholic News Service.

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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.

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.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

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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