President slams xenophobia as Poland remembers pogrom
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish President Andrzej Duda has spoken out against anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia at the anniversary of a 1946 massacre of Jews in Kielce, southern Poland.
Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Michałowski
“Such behavior must be condemned,” the president said, speaking at Monday’s commemorations of the killing of some 40 Jewish residents by their Polish neighbours 70 years ago.
The commemorations were attended by former Knesset speaker Shevach Weiss and Poland's Chief Rabbi, Michael Schudrich.
In a speech, Duda said that the Polish state strives to guarantee security to all its citizens “regardless of their background, their religious convictions or lack thereof, and the language that is closest to their heart.”
The Kielce Pogrom was carried out by Poles on 4 July 1946, ten months after the official end of World War II.
As many as 42 people perished in the massacre, and the crime prompted thousands of Jews who had survived the war to emigrate.
The pogrom was sparked by false claims that a Polish Catholic boy named Henryk Blaszczyk had been kidnapped by Jews, thus raising the ancient spectre of ritual murder.
Police and soldiers, accompanied by an angry mob of hundreds of locals, surrounded a building occupied by members of the Jewish community. Waves of violence broke out shortly thereafter.
Some Jews were murdered within the building, while others were dragged out into the street and beaten by the mob. Nine death sentences were later handed down to some of those accused of taking part in the murders. (aba)