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British Express Concern About Fate of Jerzy Toeplitz, Polish Film Figure

May 20, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Officials of the International Federation of Film Archives have expressed anxiety over the absence of news about the group’s president, the prominent Polish film director. Prof. Jerzy Toeplitz, who was a recent victim of the ongoing purge of Jews from top posts in the Government-controlled Polish film industry. According to the Sunday Observer here. Prof. Toeplitz; was expected in London where he was due to chair the federation’s annual congress which opens here next Thursday. Toeplitz was dismissed last month as rector of the Polish Film School in Lodz. The Polish Embassy here has declined to furnish any information about his whereabouts. It is assumed that the Warsaw authorities are preventing him from leaving Poland because they don’t want to see him win any further esteem abroad, the Observer said. Prof. Toeplitz has been president of the federation for 20 years.

(Prof. Toeplitz and other prominent Jews purged from the Polish film industry were the subjects of a letter published in the New York Times over the weekend protesting the “current anti-Semitic actions in Poland.” The letter was signed by 13 of America’s leading film critics, all members of the National Society of Film Critics. They named Prof. Toeplitz, Aleksander Ford, Jan Rybkowski and Jerzy Bossak, among other leaders of Poland’s film arts, who were purged because they are Jews.)

(The Times reported from Warsaw that the official Polish Press Agency, PAP, has renewed its charges that Jewish police and ghetto administrators collaborated with the Nazis in the extermination of Polish Jews during World War II. The charges were first published during the height of Poland’s so-called “anti-Zionist” campaign when “Zionists” and “discredited Stalinists” were accused of fomenting student unrest. Today’s PAP story however, said that the alleged collaborators “were in fact only a small fraction of the Jewish population, but did many irreparable wrongs.” The Times’ Warsaw correspondent Jonathan Randal reported that the Roman Catholic Church in Poland is highly sensitive to charges that the political crisis has produced anti-Semitism. “High church sources prefer to see the ‘anti-Zionist’ campaign, its attendant purge of some Jews and the repression of intellectuals less in terms of discrimination than as a settling of accounts among Communists,” Mr. Randal wrote.)

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