Poland investigates communist-era anti-Semitism

Poland wants to prosecute the Communist officials who used anti-Semitism propaganda in the late 1960s, driving some 20,000 Jews into exile.

Prosecutors from the state-run Institute of National Remembrance, charged with investigating the country’s communist past, announced Thursday that it had documented evidence of anti-Semitic articles and speeches of former government leaders.

The maximum sentence for those found guilty of propagating anti-Semitism crime is two-years.

The institute plans also to conduct interviews with Jews who fled Poland in 1968-69, when some Communist leaders used the 1967 Arab-Israeli War as a pretext to solidify power in an anti-Zionist campaign to purge the party of its perceived critics.

Most of the Jews who fled applied for exit papers and fled the country at that time were Holocaust survivors and their children.

As part of the government anti-Zionist campaign Jews were frequently fired from their jobs and accused of pro-Israeli views, often pushed to publicly denounce Israel.

Nearly all countries in the former communist bloc broke off ties with Israel after the 1967 war and adopted anti-Israel and sometimes anti-Jewish policies.

Former Polish Communist Party general secretary Wladyslaw Gomulka, who died in 1982, had openly referred to Jews an “imperialistically Zionist fifth column,” which became a part of the party rhetoric following the war.

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