Jedwabne monument vandalism part of nationalist crime series?
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland's crack counterintelligence, the Internal Security Agency (ABW), has joined the hunt for the perpetrator of what appears to be a series of nationalistic crimes in north east Poland, including the defacing of a monument to Jewish victims of the 1941 Jedwabne massacre.
Clean up begins after Jedwabne attack; photo - PAP/Artur Reszko
Yesterday, it emerged that a highly sensitive monument commemorating a WWII pogrom in which over 300 Jews were killed by their Polish Catholic neighbours had been vandalised.
The obelisk in the village of Jedwabne paid tribute to the notorious 1941 massacre, the study of which has prompted heated public debate over the last decade.
Mariusz Sokolowski, a spokesmen for Polish Police Headquarters (KGP) in Warsaw, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) that in all likeliness, the Jedwabne incident was committed by the same perpetrators as a string of other crimes in the region, which police think was perpetrated by a Polish nationalist group.
These acts include the defacing of 28 signs in Lithuanian (there is a significant Lithuanian minority in the region), an arson attack on the Muslim Cultural Centre in Bialystok, and fascist graffiti on the walls of the 18th century synagogue in the village of Orla.
The residence of a mixed Polish-Pakistani couple also came under attack by an unidentified arsonist.
Poland's state-sponsored Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) described the Jedwabne vandalism as “barbaric.”
Likewise, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, reflecting on the combined incidents, expressed his “deep regret and condemnation of these crimes so alien to Polish tradition.”
Israel's ambassador in Warsaw, Mr Zvi Rav-Ner echoed the reactions of Jewish organisations in Poland in his own statement.
“This latest act of hatred and vandalism, probably made by an unknown fascist grouping, explicitly undermines the good relations between Poles and Jews that have been worked on in recent years with great efforts by a great many people on both sides.” (nh/pg)