Former Polish politician sues Jewish museum over use of tweet deemed anti-Semitic


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – A former Polish presidential candidate said she has filed a lawsuit against the director of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews over a tweet deemed anti-Semitism in an exhibit.

In a tweet Monday, Magdalena Ogórek announced the lawsuit filed in Warsaw District Court against Dariusz Stola.

Ogórek, who is now working as a broadcaster for Polish Television, also posted on Twitter a letter of support signed by several people, including Eli Zolkos, a member of the Jewish community who calls himself “an assistant to the Chief Rabbi of Poland.”

“Zolkos is not my assistant and has never been my assistant,” Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich told JTA.

Last year, Ogórek suggested on Twitter that Sen. Marek Borowski changed his surname “from Berman to Borowski.” The Polin Museum used the tweet as a contemporary example of an anti-Semitic statement in its exhibit “Estranged: March ’68 and Its Aftermath,” which deals with the organized anti-Semitic campaign by Polish authorities that resulted in the exodus of several thousand Jews from Poland.

Ogórek  had threatened to file the lawsuit unless the museum removed the tweet and apologized. The museum did not respond to the threat.

“Please remember that you have the support of many people from the Jewish community in Poland, because of the unnecessary and harmful attack on you,” read the letter of support to Ogórek signed by Zolkos and Tomasz Małodobry, a board member of the Anioły Kultury (Angels of Culture) Foundation.

The letter said the museum’s use of the tweet creates an anti-Polish and anti-Jewish atmosphere.

“We hope that the use of your tweet at the exhibition at the Polin Museum will be thoroughly explained,” they wrote.

Zolkos says he belongs to the Jewish Defense League, a far-right fringe group. He has appeared in Polish right-wing media, including a year ago, when he said on public television that “Soros is a very dangerous man, he has declared war on all national states,” referring to Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.

In July, Zolkos said that “Jews who engage in LGBT movements adopt a liberal lifestyle, leave Judaism, and it means the death of the Jewish people.”

Anioły Kultury Foundation founder Agata Wiktoria Śmierzyńska said her foundation is apolitical and distanced itself from the letter.

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