Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Little Indication That Gomulka Has Been Able to Slow Down Anti-semitic Drive

March 21, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Observers expressed doubts today that Polish Communist Party boss Wladyslaw Gomulka had succeeded to any considerable extent in slowing down the anti-Semitic campaign that government and Communist Party officials have been carrying on in an attempt to discredit the student protest movement. Gomulka, who had been absent from Warsaw and silent while the anti-Jewish, “anti-Zionist” campaign gathered momentum, tried in a two-hour speech yesterday to soften the effects of the campaign which has had such unfavorable repercussions abroad for Poland.

The Communist leader told a meeting of 3,000 party officials in Warsaw that “it would be a mis-understanding if we saw in Zionism a danger for socialism in Poland, for its social-political system.” He warned against a blanket indictment of all of Poland’s Jews and said that before charges were made against anyone, they should be checked with the proper authorities. He said that Communism rejected both Zionism and anti-Semitism as “two sides of the same medal.”

Secretary Gomulka praised the Polish Jews who were truly linked to Poland but said that “we are ready to offer emigration passports” for those Jews who gloried in Israel’s victory last June. These people, he said, were not “linked with Poland” but with Israel and were “Jewish nationalists.” The “most numerous group” of Jews, he said, considered Poland “the only fatherland.”

The Communist leader, who himself created the basis for the current wave of anti-Semitism by his threats last June against Polish Jews who had exulted in Israel’s victory, showed concern at the indiscriminate nature of the current attack on the Jews. He pointed out that many of the Jews he considered loyal to Poland “hold important and responsible posts in the party and administration.”

Either Mr. Gomulka’s intervention was not strong enough or not enough time had elapsed for his fiat to reach all government ranks. The Warsaw Radio in a news commentary designed for listeners abroad, continued the attack on “Zionists.” It said last night that some of those arrested as ringleaders in the demonstrations or still free but involved “are visibly tainted with the brush of international Zionism. These people,” it said, “cannot forgive Comrade Wladyslaw Gomulka for criticizing last June those who could not and would not understand and appreciate the Israeli aggression against peaceful Arab countries.”

A Warsaw radio commentary for home consumption returned to the topic of the Babel Club, a Jewish student organization, and described it as “a club notorious for its joy at the success of Israel’s aggression against the peace-loving Arab states.”

Recommended from JTA