Polish Police Arrest Three in Connection to Antisemitic Book Burning Rally


Jewish Exponent Square.jpgBy Cnaan Liphshiz

Police in Poland arrested three people in connection with a nationalist rally in which participants chanted “death to the Jews” and burned a book.

Officers arrested Wojciech Olszański and Marcin Osadowski, two organizers of the rally in Kalisz, and Piotr Rybak, a provocateur from a different city with a history of staging antisemitic displays, the Gazeta Wyborca daily reported on Monday.

The rally in Kalisz, a city of about 100,000 inhabitants situated 120 miles southwest of Warsaw, was part of a series of nationalist events on Nov. 11, National Independence Day, the anniversary of when Poland regained its sovereignty in 1918.

Olszański was filmed lighting up a red-covered book that was meant to symbolize the Statute of Kalisz. The document issued in 1264 by Prince Bolesław the Pious regulated the legal status of Jews living in Poland and afforded some protection through penalizing attacks on them. The statute served as the legal foundation for relations between non-Jews and Jews in Poland for centuries later.

Reports of the event sparked outrage in Israel and beyond.

“The horrific antisemitic incident in Poland reminds every Jew in the world of the strength of hatred that exists in the world,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrote in a statement.

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Facebook wrote: “I strongly condemn all acts of antisemitism. The barbarity by a group of hooligans in Kalisz stands in contradiction with the values on which the Polish state is based.”


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