Polish Communists Intensify Drive to Saddle Jews with Blame for Student Riots
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Polish Communists Intensify Drive to Saddle Jews with Blame for Student Riots

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Communist Party officialdom in Poland intensified its campaign today to link mounting student unrest to an “international Zionist conspiracy.” It is employing the mass media – press, TV and radio – for the purpose and is propagandizing at factory mass meetings and among Government employees. But its efforts to blame Zionists and Jews for the student riots in Warsaw, Kracow and other cities has met with disbelief and outright rejection by the students themselves, according to reliable reports reaching here today.

Eight thousand students jammed the auditorium of the Warsaw Polytechnic School yesterday and demanded that the press and radio report the “true version” of events. They loudly rejected “official lies” that student protest against Communist Party control of cultural matters was an attempt by the Zionist movement to overthrow the Government.

(A dispatch today from Prague to the New York Times quoted some intellectuals there as expressing dismay a’ the anti-Jewish developments in Warsaw. “Some fear that the conservatives in Czechoslovakia may use the same kind of weapons against Czech liberals, some of whose most prominent and most articulate leaders are Jews,” The Times said. There are about 18,000 Jews left in Czechoslovakia.)

Observers noted that the Polish Communist Party was using an old tactic of trying to make the Jews scapegoats for its own failings. The Guardian commented today that “it is difficult to resist a comparison between all this and the charges of the past by Hitler of an international Zionist plot.” It noted that this should be happening in Poland, whose Jews suffered as much as the German Jews at Nazi hands, seems to be a sign of desperation.” The newspaper warned in an editorial that if the party extremists in Poland are not curbed, “the world may be witnessing the rebirth of a movement to make Jews the scapegoats for a nation’s ills.”


What appears to be happening in Poland according to reliable assessments of events there, is a struggle between the conservative and liberal elements within the ruling Communist Party with the Jews – variously estimated to number between 18,000 and 30,000 compared to a pre-war Polish Jewish population of 3.5 million – caught in the middle.

One of the leading spokesman for the conservative forces is Interior Minister Mieczyslaw Moczar, chairman of the influential Polish war veterans organization. Moczar has been denouncing Polish Jews as “unpatriotic” since last June’s Arab-Israel War when Communist Party chief Wladyslaw Gomulka described Zionists as “fifth columnists.” The newspaper Zbowid, organ of the veterans organization, is today the most vociferous in linking the Warsaw student demonstrations with “international Zionism” and “imperialist and revisionist centers in the United States and Germany.”

Reports from Poland reaching the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here, say the effects of the Government’s anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish propaganda is to be seen in Warsaw streets. Counter-demonstrators against the students are carrying banners demanding, “clean the party of Zionists” and “away with the new fifth column.” Resolutions are being passed at Communist Party-sponsored rallies urging “exemplary punishment” for Zionist instigators of riots and charging that “Zionists have been emboldened by the leniency shown them.”

(The New York Times reported from Warsaw that a resolution adopted by workers of the Foreign Trade Ministry, which employs considerable numbers of Jews, demanded that “our authorities stop tolerating the activity of reactionary Zionist elements in the political, economic, cultural and social life of our country and that the mass information media, the press, radio and television, become at last instruments against political and ideological sabotage.” “Observers noted that the news media also employed a relatively large number of Jews,” the Times said.

(The Times said that “Edward Pietrzak, secretary of the party cell at the Zeran automobile factory in Warsaw, was typical of dozens of activists who were quoted in the press and on television in favor of an anti-Zionist line.” But Pietrzak “insisted that he was not anti-Semitic,” the Times said, and told how his father had saved the lives of “at least five Jews” during World War II at risk to his own life. But, the Times noted, “not all workers were accepting the party’s explanations without question. Informed sources said that as many as half the workers at the Zeran plant disobeyed orders to attend a rally to protest the student demonstrations.”)


The British Communist Party newspaper, the London Morning Star, published today the statement by the World Jewish Congress in Geneva which condemned the current campaign of the Polish Communist Party to make Jews the scapegoats for student riots in that country. The Star is the only British newspaper freely circulated in the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc countries of Eastern Europe.

The statement, made by WJC president Dr. Nahum Goldmann, said in part that it was “unthinkable that the Polish Government should permit the Jews to be exploited as a scapegoat for its present internal difficulties and fail to denounce this attempt to revive the traditional anti-Semitism of former reactionary forces in Poland.” Dr. Goldmann’s statement received wide coverage in the British press, radio and TV.

The Association of Polish-Jewish ex-servicemen expressed “deep concern” today over the Polish Communist Party’s current attempt to blame Jews for student riots and unrest in Polish cities. A spokesman for the group told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the anti-Semitic outbursts in the Polish press and radio were reminiscent of the rabid anti-Semitism displayed in Poland in the pre-World War II era.

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