Shocked Polish lawmaker discovered that the newsstand in the nation’s parliament offered a newspaper with instructions on how to spot Jews by name and face, and tackle their “disinformation activities.”
Right-wing Polish-language weekly Tylko Polska (Only Poland) ran a story with the headline ‘How to spot a Jew’. The purpose of the jarring article was to teach readers about the “names, anthropological features, expressions, appearances, character traits, methods of operation” of Jews, along with their “disinformation activities,” it said on the front page.
The text also read: “How can they be defeated? This can’t go on any longer!” The front page contained a photo of Polish-born US historian Jan Gross, whose works on Polish compliance in the Holocaust during the Nazi occupation has made him a frequent target of the nation’s right-wingers.
The paper, published by a local nationalist politician, was openly sold at a newsstand located in the Polish parliament building, where it was discovered by lawmaker Michal Kaminski. “I consider it an absolute scandal that such obscene papers are sold here in the Sejm [parliament], as if they were taken straight from the Nazi-era press,”he told reporters.
The incident sparked outrage on social media and led critics to accuse the government of inaction against hate speech.
“What do politicians say now?” one person wrote. “Poland is a country free from anti-Semitism? There are no nods to racism and nationalism?”
Another called the situation “a disgrace for the Polish parliament.”
The fact that the inflammatory paper was sold in the open “unfortunately demonstrates the stubborn ignorance or even toleration of anti-Semitism in the political mainstream,” Polish anti-racism group ‘Never Again Association’ told the media.
The publication was strongly condemned by Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League.
How sad for Poland and the Jewish people that anti-Semitism continues in so many forms and in so many places in today’s Poland.
Following the backlash, Andrzej Grzegrzolka, who leads the parliamentary information center, explained that the newsstands are operated by a private firm which is responsible for the selection of papers.
“The people selling the papers are not employees of the parliament’s chancellery,” he tweeted.
Grzegrzolka said he would demand that the “paper with anti-Semitic articles” be removed, and that a review of all material would be launched. Poland, ruled by a right-wing government, has seen an upswing in anti-Semitic and nationalistic incidents, which has led to scandals at home and diplomatic spats with Israel. In January, far-right activists marched through Auschwitz on Holocaust Memorial Day, calling for a “fight against Jewry” in Poland.