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Polish Regime Launches Anti-semitic Drive, Blaming Jews for Student Unrest

March 14, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Polish Communist Party is blaming Jews for organizing the continuing street riots and student demonstrations in Warsaw and other cities protesting party control over cultural affairs. According to information received here today from reliable sources in Warsaw, the campaign to make Poland’s 18,000 to 20,000 surviving Jews the scapegoats for student unrest is being conducted on the highest levels of party leadership, especially among those elements responsible for security and thus most vulnerable to official criticism for failing to control events. These reports were confirmed today by The Guardian which said that Warsaw newspapers are printing the names of alleged Jewish instigators of the riots and party officials are making speeches blaming the Jews.

(The New York Times reported from Warsaw that a Jew, Fryderyk Topolski, was one of three high government officials summarily dismissed because of alleged involvement of their children in the riots. Topolski was in charge of decentralizing Warsaw industry. His son, Wiktor, was listed as a member of the Babel Club and the Jewish Cultural Society which the newspaper, Kurier Polski, singled out for responsibility for the riots, according to the Times.) Antoni Slonimski, famed Polish-Jewish poet, was one of the intellectuals accused.

The “Jewish Babel Club” was described as the meeting place of the alleged instigators by Slowo Powszchine, an ostensibly Catholic newspaper which is actually supported by the Communist Party security apparatus to counteract genuine Catholic opinion, The Guardian said. The paper blamed “Zionists” for the demonstrations and printed the names of alleged Zionist students and their fathers whom it accused of serving the “anti-Polish party” of West Germany. The Polish Communist Party’s official organ, Tribuna Ludu, also published the names of alleged instigators in such a way as to make it clear that they are Jews. It identified one young man as an activist of the Babel Club and son of a well-known editor. “Few of its readers will need to be told that his father is editor of Poland’s only Yiddish paper,” The Guardian said.


But that newspaper, the daily Folkstimme, has remained silent on the anti-Jewish campaign as has the Polish-Jewish community, a miniscule fraction of the 3.5 million Jews who lived in Poland before the war, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned. Jozef Kepa, the Communist Party secretary for Warsaw, alleged, however, that the Jews were falsely charging anti-Semitism. He told a meeting of party activists last night that the “trouble makers developed their campaign with a series of leaflets charging rampant anti-Semitism” and were using the “bogey of anti-Semitism at every possible opportunity, particularly since Israeli aggression against the Arabs.” But, he added, “we won’t allow ourselves to be blackmailed by the bogey of anti-Semitism.” (The New York Times said that Kepa rejected charges that the party was anti-Semitic but said the “Zionists” were trying to protect themselves by accusing others of anti-Semitism and that “a number of the joint organizers of the brawls are Polish citizens of Jewish origin.”)

The Guardian noted that official anti-Semitism reached a high point in Poland immediately after last June’s Arab-Israel war when a number of Jews resigned from the Communist Party in protest against official government support of the Arabs and a number of Poles likewise resigned commissions in the armed services in sympathy with Israel. At that time, Polish Communist Party chief Wladyslaw Gomulka warned Poles, particularly Jews, against becoming “Zionist fifth-columnists.”

Reliable sources in Warsaw said today that the most dangerous aspect of the current anti-Jewish campaign was the word-of-mouth rumors spread by security agents which blame everything on the Jews in the pre-war tradition of Polish anti-Semitism. Party agitators have called numerous factory meetings which passed resolutions blaming the “Zionists” for the current unrest, the JTA has learned.

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