An open letter condemning a Polish Roman Catholic priest known for his anti-Semitic rhetoric was signed by more than 700 people including a former prime minister and foreign minister.
The letter comes following a report by Wprost, a Polish magazine, that Father Tadeusz Rydzyk gave a recorded speech at a journalism school in Poland where he criticized Jewish efforts at property restitution as greedy and condemned President Lech Kaczynski for donating land in Warsaw for the future Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Rydzyk, a member of the Redemptorist order, heads a right-wing Catholic media empire that includes Radio Maryja , which has a history of broadcasting anti-Semitic statements.
The letter of protest against Rydzyk , posted on the Website of the Krakow-based Center for Culture and Dialogue, states: “As Polish Catholics, laymen and clergy, we express our moral protest against the worsening statements of the director of Radio Maryja. It hurts us that the contemptible and anti-Semitic statements come from a representative of our church.”
The letter’s signatories include former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, a Catholic who worked in the underground movement Zegota during World War II to help Polish Jews and support the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.