Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Anti-semitism Reported Rising in Poland; Attributed to New Policy

July 2, 1956
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Documents indicating the rise of anti-Semitism in Poland were made public here by the Free Europe Committee parallel with the news of the uprisings in the Polish city of Poznan. The committee reported the following facts:

1. A great number of articles on anti-Semitism are currently appearing in Polish newspapers, after the problem had been completely passed over in silence by Polish Communist propaganda for a period of 11 years. Some of the articles give clear hints that the sources of the recent anti-Semitic events are being sought within the party.

2. On May 26, 1956, hooligans attacked a synagogue in Lodz. They entered the place of worship, removed the holy books, tore them to pieces and scattered them all over the synagogue and in the street outside.

3. Anti-Jewish sentiment, which did not exist at all in the past, is developing now among Polish youth. They seem to believe that Jews are competing with them for a livelihood. Inscriptions “Jews Go to Palestine” have appeared on walls of houses in the cities of Wroclaw and Szczecin, each of which have several-thousand Jewish residents.

4. At a meeting of the central committee of the Communist Party on March 20, 1956 which took place after the funeral of Boleslaw Beirut, chief of the Polish Communist Party–Nikita Khrushchev is reported to have said: “You have too many Abramovitches here.” His statement brought a protest from a leading member of the Polish Communist Party.

5. A group of Jewish emigrants who arrived in Geneva from Poland on June 3, 1956, reported: “The most important reasons behind the decision of those previously hesitant about emigration to Israel is the anti-Semitism which in recent months has greatly grown in strength in Poland. This anti-Semitism always existed among the masses, but the regime and the part knew nothing about it officially. Now this anti-Semitism comes from above and is an echo of what is happening in Russia.”

The new wave of anti-Semitism in Poland appears directly traceable, according to the Free Europe Committee, to Khrushchev, who did not include in his condemnation of the Stalin cult at the 20th congress of the Soviet Communist Party any reference to Stalin’s anti-Semitic actions and views. The New York Daily Worker, American Communist organ, called attention to this in its June 6, 1956 issue, pointing out that as of that date “this series of outrages” had not been publicized in Moscow.

There are today about 50,000 Jews in Poland. However, this figure does not include a large number who conceal their Jewish identity or continue to live under non-Jewish names assumed during the Nazi occupation of Poland when they purchased false documents-identifying them as non-Jews–to prevent the Nazis from sending them to the gas chambers.

Recommended from JTA