Priest in Poland Under Fire for Selling Anti-semitic Books

A Polish priest who has been suspended in the past for repeated anti-Semitic statements is in hot water once again.

Father Henryk Jankowski was criticized by several bishops for selling anti- Semitic publications at his parish church.

Jankowski reportedly moved the bookstand from the church to his residence next door after two representatives of the Gdansk archbishop ordered him to stop selling what they described in the leading Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza as books that “promote hatred.”

Several other leading Polish bishops published commentaries in the newspaper highly critical of Jankowski and his actions. In 1997 the Polish church suspended Jankowski for one year for making anti-Semitic comments from the pulpit.

The books in question include one backing the Catholic fundamentalists who have erected hundreds of crosses outside Auschwitz, “Defending the Cross We Defend Poland — the Necessary Defense,” by Jan Marszalek. The representatives of the archbishop described this book as “full of venom and hatred.”

Other publications that Jankowski is selling include titles such as “Pray for Us: Father Henryk Jankowski and the Jewish Question in Poland and in the World” and “Your Peril, Israel, Comes From Yourself: Father Jankowski Was Right.”

The thrust of the books is that Jews run Poland — and that the Polish government and members of the Polish clergy follow Jewish orders.

Jankowski has expressed this sentiment from the pulpit on several occasions over the past few years.

During a crowded mass on Sunday, according to Gazeta Wyborcza, Jankowski rejected the criticism and attacked the newspaper’s editor, Adam Michnik, for “wanting to be an arch-censor.” He declared that the books in question “are based on historical truth, and thus should not be rejected, but rather accepted, swallowed so that conclusions can be drawn.”

Polish television, which featured the issue on a recent program, also aired a piece on the restitution of a synagogue in Gdansk to the Jewish community. Senior Catholic clergy attended the ceremony marking the event.

“These two episodes indicate that both anti-Semitism and Jewish life are growing in Poland,” said Stanislaw Krajewkski, a member of the board of Poland’s national Jewish organization who is also the American Jewish Committee’s consultant in Poland.

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