ADL Calls On Polish Catholic Church To Denounce Anti-Semitic Meeting In Krakow
New York, NY, February 13, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the Polish Catholic Church to denounce "in the strongest terms" an anti-Semitic meeting reportedly held in a Krakow church and to take steps to ensure that churches will be made "off-limits to hate."
About 1,000 people reportedly attended the February 9 meeting at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was convened by Radio Maryja and the Committee Against Defamation of the Church and For Polishness. The meeting, widely reported by the Polish press, allegedly was publicized with posters that declared, "The Kikes will not continue to spit on us!" and featured virulently anti-Semitic speeches.
"We were deeply disturbed by reports that an anti-Semitic meeting was held in a Krakow church," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, a Holocaust survivor who was born in Poland. "Such sentiments are a troubling reminder that anti-Semitism is alive and well in Poland, and that the memory and lessons of the Holocaust, while still fresh for survivors of the war, is fading for ordinary Poles."
At the Krakow meeting, virulent anti-Semitism reportedly was the order of the day. A man identified in news reports as Professor Bogoslav Wolniewicz reportedly told the gathering: "The Jews are attacking us! We need to defend ourselves!" Radio Maryja, one of the meeting's organizers, is a right-wing Polish Catholic station that has a history of anti-Semitic broadcasts.
In a letter to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, ADL called on the local archdiocese and the Polish Bishops conference to speak out. "One of the great lessons the world learned from Pope John Paul II is that ignorance and bias are never remedied unless all of us are willing to challenge them at every turn," wrote Mr. Foxman. "We ask Your Eminence and the Polish Bishops Conference to publicly denounce these words and this group in the strongest terms, and to take steps to ensure such gatherings never again take place in the holy space of a church."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.