WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Anti-Semitism has again become a problem in Poland because of the Holocaust law passed earlier this year and the subsequent controversy surrounding it, the former Roman Catholic primate there said.
“Old demons began to wake up: the trust of many thousands of people has been strained and the work of many decades has been tarnished,” Henryk Muszynski, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Gniezno, told the Polish-language Catholic Guide magazine.
The law passed in February made it illegal to blame the Polish nation of crimes that were committed by the Nazis. In June, the parliament made it a civil offense rather than a criminal one.
Muszynski said that Poles are attached to history, but they have “their own, one-sided vision.” He said there were “glorious moments” in the history of Poland, but also “mean and un-Christian” behavior.
The archbishop said Poles are closing themselves off to others and do not have a sufficiently deep identity, hence the fear of those who are “different and foreign.”
“It seems to us that they can threaten us, that they can change and destroy us. That is why we still want to defend ourselves against anyone — so much so that we are ready to create a fictional enemy, who is everyone who thinks differently, who believes differently, who is different from us,” the archbishop said.
“Those who reject today Jews and Muslims, who judge these people, probably never met any Jew or Muslim. The blame for their aggression and fear is usually borne by their environment, in which radical opinions and propaganda dominate, served by some media.”