Polish nationalists shout ‘Death to Jews’ while burning book at rally

Polish nationalists shouted “death to the Jews” while burning a book representing a historic pact protecting the rights of Polish Jews.

The book burning Thursday at a rally in Kalisz, a city of about 100,000 people located 120 miles southwest of Warsaw, was part of a series of nationalist events on November 11, National Independence Day, which is the anniversary. from when Poland regained its sovereignty in 1918.

Videos and eyewitness accounts on social media show that Wojciech Olszański, a far-right activist, lit up a red-cover book that was meant to symbolize the Kalisz Statute. The document issued in 1264 by Prince Bolesław the Pious regulated the legal status of Jews living in Poland and gave them some protection by criminalizing attacks against them. The statute served as the legal basis for relations between non-Jews and Jews in Poland for centuries afterward.

Olszański poured a flammable liquid on the book that had been skewered on a sharp metal object and set the book on fire as the crowd cheered and shouted: “Death to the Jews.” Some also chanted: “No to Polin, yes to Poland.” “Polin” is both the Hebrew name for Poland and the name of the main Jewish museum in Warsaw.

“This is a scary and symbolically important event,” said Rafal Pankowski, leader of the Polish anti-racism group Never Again. He compared the demonstration to the burning of books in Nazi Germany, including about the Kristallnacht pogroms in 1938. The 83rd anniversary of the pogroms was on Wednesday. “Having monitored anti-Semitism for more than 25 years, I have never seen anything like it,” Pankowski told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Police are studying the images, the PAP news agency reported.

“These images cause chills,” Katharina Von Schnurbein, European Union coordinator for the fight against anti-Semitism, wrote on Twitter.

Other great nationalist events took place in the main Polish cities in recent days. One of the main themes of the marches concerned the current crisis in relations between Belarus and Poland. In recent days, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has been encouraging immigrants to cross from his country into Poland and the European Union, supposedly to punish Poland and other countries for harboring Belarusian dissidents.

Poland’s right-wing government refuses to let in immigrants, including Afghan asylum seekers.


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