Anti-Semitism in Polish Protests Against Restitution


May 15, 2019

Extremist and anti-Semitic expressions have featured in recent Polish demonstrations against restitution of Holocaust-era Jewish property, seized by the Polish government.  Together with our Polish partner, Never Again Association, ADL has been monitoring events and have found the following:

On May 10, the Polish Journalists Association hosted a panel discussion, entitled, “Jewish claims and the case of Poland,” with several known extremists.  The discussion was broadcast on Polish online TV channel wREALu24, which has over 230,000 subscribers on YouTube.  Among the statements made were:

  • “After 1934, in the leading positions in the Nazi Party, there was nobody who had no Jewish blood in them – this is very important – starting with Hitler,” said Dr. Mira Modelska-Creech, a former lecturer at Georgetown University and Warsaw University.  When an audience member challenged her about Hitler being Jewish, she responded that Hitler may have been related to the Rothschild family, painted a lot of Jewish cemeteries, and only despised East European Jews.
  • Former Polish ambassador Krzysztof Balinski called for a special tribunal to punish “traitors,” while holding his book about purported Israeli and American control over the Polish Foreign Ministry.  He said “Every word of my speech is anti-Semitic” to loud applause.
  • Marian Miszalski, author of the anti-Semitic book, “The Jewish Political Lobby in Poland,” ranted about Poland’s membership in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and IHRA adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism.  He asked rhetorically, “Is this an anti-Semitic event? Yes, it is! We are all anti-Semites here!” and he was roundly applauded.  
  • Robert Bąkiewicz, a leader of the anti-Semitic National Radical Camp (ONR), and chairman of the extremist Independence Day March where tens of thousands march each November 11, said, “Catholics should vote for Catholics, Jews for Jews, and freemasons for freemasons. But first we have to find out who is who."

On May 11, at an anti-Jewish restitution demonstration in front of the US Embassy in Warsaw, there were:

  • T-shirts with “Death to the enemies of the fatherland”
  • Chants of “This is Poland, not Polin [the Hebrew word for Poland].”
  • A sign, “Poland will NOT be your next Palestine.”
  • A Polish version of “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” on sale:
protocols zion poland

At a May 13 press conference, Grzegorz Braun, a current European Parliament candidate for the far-right Konfederacja party, said, “The American empire here is the political and military tool of Jewish blackmail against Poland.”  He also wrote in the most recent issue of the far-right weekly magazine, Najwyzszy Czas, about “the war which the Jews have waged against the Polish nation. They have waged this war for centuries. In fact, they have always conducted it against the Poles and against the whole Christian world.”

Anti-Semitic discourse in discussions about Polish restitution have not been restricted to Poland.  At an anti-Jewish restitution demonstration in New York on March 31, author Molly Crabapple documented that one protester waved a dollar bill at Jewish counter-protesters, while others held signs that accused Jews of welcoming both the Nazi and Soviet invasions and called to “Stop [the] Holocaust Industry.”

Equal Rights Poland
pompeo poland

Nor are such anti-Semitic expressions new.  The caption of this magazine cover from 2011, which shows a Warsaw skyline, is “Son, someday this will all be yours.”

angora poland

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