Effigy of Jew Burned At Protest in Poland

A demonstration in Poland against accepting Muslim refugees that concluded with the burning of an effigy of an Orthodox Jew elicited shock and condemnation.

“What happened last night in Wroclaw is outrageous and concerning,” Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich told Hamodia. “We are moved by the strong moral voice and clear condemnation of this action by the mayor of Wroclaw, Rafal Dutkiewicz, as well as by the moving letter of Bishop M. Cislo, expressing his outrage and concern about this event.”

A large crowd attended the rally in a public square in the city of Wroclaw Wednesday night. It was organized in the wake of last week’s massive terror attacks in Paris, using those events as a platform to protest against acceptance of Syrian refugees.

The assembled shouted nationalist and anti-EU slogans and one speaker declared, “Our duty, the duty of lawmakers and the government, is to say that we won’t take a single Islamist into Poland because Poland is for Poles.”

The rally concluded with the burning of an effigy dressed in a black hat and coat with peyos, holding an EU flag. The organizers, National Radical Camp and All-Polish Youth, are both associated with ultra-nationalist positions and hearken back to their pro-Nazi past in prewar Poland.

Poland had originally pledged to accept 7,000 migrants fleeing the Middle East; however, the newly sworn-in center-right government under Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has expressed reservations over the plan. The Law and Justice Party, which now leads Poland’s government, has taken a more conservative stance on Poland’s role in the refugee crisis.

“Poland has a new government and it appears that anti-Semites like ONR [the Polish acronym for the National Radical Camp] are under the belief that they have support from this new government for such actions,” said Rabbi Schudrich.  “We are certain that this is not true, but we also hope to hear clear and moral statements to this effect in the very near future.”