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Poland Pledges to End Sanctioned Anti-semitism

April 22, 1988
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President Wojciech Jaruzelski of Poland said Tuesday that his country had tried to do everything possible to make the 45th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising a success “because we feel we have an obligation to do it” He deplored the anti-Semitic acts in Poland during the late ’60s, and pledged “it will not happed during this regime.”

Jaruzelski met Tuesday with a delegation of Jews that included Kalman Sultanik, vice president of the World Jewish Congress and Stefan Grayek, president of the World Federation of Jewish Fighters.

Referring to the discussion on Monday in which his minister of religion underlined Poland’s agreement with Catholic church leaders to have the Carmelite convent removed from Auschwitz the president observed that “the church seldom makes an agreement with us but when they do they keep it.”

The closing session of the memorial took place Tuesday night in the vast Congress Hall of the Palace of Culture. Some 2,000 Jews and many Polish leaders heard addresses by Professor Henryk Jablonski, former president of Poland, Szymon Szurmiej, director of the Yiddish State Theatre, Grayek and Sultanik.

Sultanik noted that “In the record of righteous gentiles kept at Yad Vashem in Israel, there are some 7,000 names; of these, more than a third are Polish. We will never forget these righteous gentiles, who risked their lives.”

Referring to the problems facing Jews in the time of former leader Wladislaw Gomulka, he said, “We view as positive recent statements from within official Polish circles condemning the anti-Semitic campaigns of ’67-’68, which drove thousands of Jews out of Poland. These statements should be made definitive and authoritative. I believe that now, on this occasion when Jews from all over the world are gathered here, was an appropriate opportunity for the present Polish government to speak to this issue.”

He urged that “Poles must make every effort to build new bridges with the reborn Jewish people, and out of the ashes, with the State of Israel. The Polish government must take active steps in restoring full diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Grayek, an imposing yet modest figure, is a Warsaw Ghetto survivor who now lives in Tel Aviv. He appealed to all nations “not love us only after our death, do not be satisfied only with monuments. Help us live, too.”

He pointed out that “tens of thousands of Jews fought in partisan units and in the resistance throughout all of Europe — East and West — that was conquered by the Third Reich.”


The head of the large Israeli delegation. Education Minister Yitzhak Navon, won the respect and affection of his Polish hosts because of his unfailing charm and distinction.

In addition to attending almost all of the many events, he has met frequently with foreign dignitaries, past President Jablonski, the secretary of the Communist Party and the ministers of culture and education.

It was Navon’s firm conviction before he returned to Israel midnight Tuesday that the 45th anniversary marked a positive step forward on the road to full diplomatic relations.

Navon made specific plans during his visit to forge closer ties between the two nations. He concluded agreements with both Polish ministers for strongly intensified cultural exchanges of theatre, music and dance productions, as well as an exchange of university students and professors.

He has also resolved to introduce a new curriculum on Holocaust studies with emphasis on Poland. Navon feels deeply that educating the youth of Israel in this significant field and bringing them to Poland can help them achieve a whole Jewish identity.

Foreign ministry officials informed him that full relations will take some time, and that Poland is waiting to see how Israel’s current problems are resolved. Both he and Simcha Dinitz were privately told by responsible sources that Poland had made a mistake in breaking relations with Israel in 1967.

Discussions during the week of ceremonies with religious affairs officials in Warsaw, Lublin and Krakow reveal a concern to protect and enhance the remnants of Jewish life in Poland.

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