Poland: Chanting 'death to Jews,' far-right nationalists burn book on Jewish rights


3 min read
Far-right demonstrators protest against a Holocaust restitution bill, in Warsaw, Poland, on May 11, 2019.
Alik Keplicz/AFPFar-right demonstrators protest against a Holocaust restitution bill, in Warsaw, Poland, on May 11, 2019.

Incident widely condemned; Polish police looking into footage of the 'disturbing' rally

Chanting "death to Jews," Polish far-right nationalists burned the replica of a historical document enshrining the legal status of Jews in Poland, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported on Saturday. 

The extremist rally was held on in the city of Kalisz on November 11, Poland’s Independence Day, which has in recent years become one of the largest annual gatherings of the European far right.   

The 1264 Statute of Kalisz, the document whose replica was burned at the rally, afforded Jews living in Poland a degree of protection by outlawing anti-Semitic attacks, serving as an important model for later legislation. 

Polish police said in a statement that it was looking into the footage of the "disturbing" rally, while Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said he hoped that “the people who organized the shameful and scandalous assembly in Kalisz on November 11 will suffer legal consequences.”

“These pictures send shivers down the spine,” Katharina Von Schnurbein, the EU coordinator for fighting anti-Semitism, tweeted.

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Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also took to Twitter to condemn the incident in the strongest terms. 

"The horrific anti-Semitic event in Poland reminds every Jew in the world of the hatred and danger of anti-Semitism when it is not eradicated," Lapid wrote in Hebrew.

"The unequivocal condemnation of officials in Poland is important and essential. I expect the Polish government to take a firm stand against those who took part in this shocking display of hatred," he added.

The relations between the two countries are strained following the approval by Warsaw of a controversial law severely restricting the ability of Jews to recover property seized by Nazi German occupiers and retained by post-war communist rulers.

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