Anti-jewish Provocations Checked in Two Polish Towns; Police Prevent Outbreaks

An effort to provoke anti-Jewish disturbances by placing the body of a Christian child in the courtyard of a Jewish house was recently uncovered in the town of Lignic, the seat of Soviet Marshal Rokosowski.

Because of the presence of Soviet military headquarters, the 1,000 Jewish residents of Lignic felt more secure than most Jews in Poland. However, when the dead child was found and anti-Semitic agitators started to spread a rumor that the Jews had murdered it, the entire Jewish population became panic-stricken.

Units of Polish policemen and Soviet soldiers were immediately stationed in the streets to suppress any anti-Jewish outbreaks, while a medical investigation was ordered. The investigation established that the child was not murdered, but had died of natural causes and was carried to the door of a Jewish home in order to incite the Polish population to a pogrom.

A similar provocation is also reported from the town of Miedzyrzec, where there are only about 100 Jewish residents. The disappearance of a six-year-old Polish child, Janina Herbaciuk, led to rumors that “the Jews had kidnapped a Christian child.” Energetic measures by the police resulted in their finding the child in the waiting room of the local railway station.

Further investigation established that the child was kidnapped by a Polish woman, Teofila Pieniak, who, when arrested, admitted that she intended to bring the child to Lodz and ask Jews there to “redeem it” for several thousand zlotys as “a Jewish child” which had been given asylum by her during the years of Nazi occupation.

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