NEW YORK (Mar. 21)
The head of the world’s largest Jewish fraternal order charged that two Polish Communist organizers arranging the 40th anniversary commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising on April 19 are still leaders of a political faction in Poland responsible for anti-Semitic purges and assaults during 1968-69.
Dr. Israel Kugler, president of The Workmen’s Circle, said that he was communicating with American Jewish leaders and their counterparts abroad and in Israel who might be “lured by decent instincts” to participate in the Polish government-sponsored Warsaw Ghetto commemoration uprising “to renounce this event for the cynical insult it has become to all those martyred and who have survived the Holocaust.”
Kugler said that the principal organizer of the April 19 Warsaw event was a post-World War I organization known as BOWID–Association of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy– and that Mieczyslav Moczar, chairman of its central council, and Vlodzimierz Sokorski, president of its board, were both leaders during 1968-69 a political faction of the Polish Communist Party which bears Moczar’s name that engaged in wide-spread anti-Semitic propaganda activities.
BOWID, itself, Kugler charged, was notorious after World War I for anti-Semitic incitements, and during World War II its members aided and abetted the Nazi occupiers by hunting for Jews in the forests.
“The incongruity of this whole affair is that Sokorski joined the Moczar faction in 1968 and, as a journalist, was director of the Polish government’s Committee of Radio and TV. During this period, as perhaps none other in Poland’s otherwise sordid anti-Semitic history, anti-Semitic propaganda, often using texts lifted from the Nazi publication ‘Der Sturmer,’ reached all-time highs. Sokorski, who is ironically organizing the Warsaw Ghetto uprising event, and is listed as one of the principal speakers, as Moczar’s intellectual leader, was part of the Gomulka regime’s plan to make Poland ‘Judenrein’–Jew-free’.”
The edict against Jews under the regime of Wladyslaw Gomulka began immediately after the Six-Day War and Moczar’s faction within the Communist Party took up the government’s cry that “Polish Jews are the fifth column” and expanded it to create an atmosphere during which thousands of Jews who had returned to Poland after World War II began a mass exodus, Kugler said.
Assaults and harassments at the time were “part of the Polish government’s anti-Semitic manipulation of its remaining small Jewish community,” Kugler stated. He said that some American Jewish leaders and some others “who have misjudged” the situation “are going to Poland to say Kaddish, which they can do at any time–and should–but not dictated by those whose records are stained by the blood of Jews victimized in pogroms or by those responsible for perpetuating a history saturated with the blood of Jewish martyrs and other victims.
“We totally support and hail the statement by Marek Edelman the last commander of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and who resides in Lodz who renounced any association with the sponsors of the April 19th commemoration in Warsaw calling it ‘a cynical act of contempt’” (See March 17 Bulletin for Edelman’s full statement.)