Poland’s largest bookstore chain halts sale of book by priest accused of anti-Semitism


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — The largest bookstore chain in Poland has stopped selling a book written by a former priest accused of anti-Semitism after customers threatened it with a boycott over the weekend.

On Sunday, Empik halted sales of the book “My Fight for the Truth” by Jacek Miedlar after one day. The title in Polish echoes that of Adolf Hitler’s manifesto, “Mein Kampf.”

Miedlar is a former priest associated with Polish nationalists. Last year he was indicted in the western Poland city of Wroclaw for “public incitement to hatred based on religious and national differences” for a 2016 speech in which he called for hatred against Jews and Ukrainians.

This year, after Israel and Poland fought over a law that would have made it illegal to blame the Polish nation for crimes committed by the Nazis, Miedlar began producing T-shirts with the inscription “I am not sorry for Jedwabne.”

Jedwabne was the scene of a 1941 pogrom in which Poles killed Jewish residents of the village.

“It is outrageous that someone publishes a book with a title alluding to Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ and the largest bookstore chain does not realize they got into promotion of radicalism,” Monika Krawczyk, CEO of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, told JTA.

Empik’s media spokeswoman, Monika Marianowicz, told JTA: “We are proponents of freedom of speech, but within the limits of the law. Following many messages and emails sent to the bookstore and comments on social media, Miedlar’s book was temporarily withdrawn from sale.

“In the face of numerous reports from our clients about the fact that this book spreads hate speech and thus violates Polish law, we decided to block its availability until the situation is clarified.

In a blog post, Midelar blamed leftists for boycotting his book, and said the opposition to its publication proves the book “strikes a real blow against the anti-Polish values ​​promoted by the traitors of the nation.”

Empik did not rule out selling the book again following a detailed reading if it turns out the book does not break Polish law.

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