Antisemitic march in Polish city causes widespread condemnation


Central Europe


An Independence March marking Poland's Independence Day and the 103rd anniversary of the country's restoration to statehood, in Warsaw, Poland, 11 November 2021. The march was not related to the extremist march on the same day in the city of Kalisz. Photo EPA, WOJCIECH OLKUSNIK

An extremist march last week in the Polish city of Kalisz has caused outrage in Poland. Participants chanted, among others, "Death to Jews". Three organisers of the march have been arrested for inciting hatred and crimes.

Website Notes from Poland writes about it.

The event took place on 11 November, Poland's Independence Day, but was not related to the much larger nationalist march that passed through Warsaw. During the rally in Kalisz, a city of 100,000 people in central Poland, participants walked to the historic market square chanting "death to enemies of the fatherland".

"Death to Jews"

In front of the town hall, members of the crowd started shouting "death to Jews". In the meantime, they burned a copy of the State of Kalisz. This document, issued in the 13th century, granted Jews legal protection and rights in Poland when facing persecution elsewhere in Europe. The crowd then chanted, "this is Poland, not Polin", referring to the Hebrew name for Poland.

"LGBT, pederasts and Zionists are the enemies of Poland," declared the organiser of the march, Aleksander Jabłoński, whose real name is Wojciech Olszański. He is a far-right activist with pro-Russian views and spreading hateful and violent rhetoric and conspiracy theories. During his speech, he also criticised Covid vaccines.


In Poland, the march was met with outrage. On Sunday, hundreds of people attended a new rally in Kalisz under the slogan "Kalisz free from antisemitism" to express their disapproval. Polish dignitaries have publicly condemned the event.

President Andrzej Duda condemned the original march as "barbarism", which he said was "at odds with Polish values", as well as "an act of betrayal" in the light of the situation on the border and the "propaganda operation against Poland".

The Conference of Polish Bishops (KEP) criticised the "antisemitic behaviour in Kalisz" as at odds with "patriotism" and "in clear contradiction with the gospel and church teaching".


Following the widespread condemnation of the march, the three organisers of the parade – Wojciech O., Marcin O. and Piotr R., whose full names are withheld under Polish law – were arrested on Monday morning, Notes from Poland reports.

The three men stand accused of inciting hatred, insult based on ethnicity and public incitement to commit crimes against others based on nationality and religion.

"We do not accept antisemitism and hatred based on nationality, religion or ethnicity," wrote Polish interior minister Mariusz Kamiński on Twitter. He had previously also condemned the march as "shameful".



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