Polish newspaper prints Jew-spotting checklist
Outrage as far-right periodical among newspapers sold inside Polish parliament
A press kit delivered to Polish lawmakers included a fringe ultra-nationalist newspaper whose front page offered readers tips for spotting Jews.
A copy of Tylko Polska (Only Poland) was spotted among the weekly package of publications delivered to the Sejm, the country’s lower house of parliament, on Wednesday.
Above a headline trashing a recent Holocaust Studies conference in Paris as anti-Polish, the front page includes a banner alerting readers to a “How to spot a Jew” guide printed inside.
The guide claims to list the “names, anthropological features, expressions, appearances, character traits, methods of operation” and “disinformation activities” by which readers can supposedly identify Jews, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.
The banner adds: “How to defeat them? This cannot go on!”
Tylko Polska is published by Leszek Bubl, “a fringe nationalist political candidate and sometime musician who has sung about ‘rabid’ rabbis”, says the Times of Israel. The far-right weekly is sold across the country, although its circulation figures are unclear.
The backlash to the newspaper’s sale on parliamentary grounds brought together lawmakers from the left and right wing, with Michal Kaminski of the centre-right Poland Comes First party leading the charge to have the “unacceptable” publication removed.
Andrzej Grzegrzolka, the director of the chamber’s Sejm Information Centre, initially responded to complaints by saying that the newspapers were sold from kiosks within parliament and were not subject to regulation. However, amid the mounting backlash, he confirmed that the office will request the publication’s removal from the weekly press packages.
“The Chancellery of the Sejm ordered the press distributor at the Sejm to stop supplying and displaying the aforementioned publication,” he said in a statement.
Poland’s right-wing government’s relations with Polish Jews and with Israel have been strained by fraught exchanges over its role in the Holocaust.
Last year, lawmakers passed a bill making it illegal to refer to Poland as complicit in Nazi war crimes - for instance, calling Auschwitz a “Polish death camp” - albeit in a watered-down form which removed the threat of jail time for offenders.
Nonetheless, Jonathan Ornstein, director of Krakow’s Jewish Community Center, told The Washington Post that the publication is only representative of an extreme minority.
“I think that, because of the particular history here in Poland, things like this always get magnified,” he said. “I don’t think it necessarily represents mainstream Polish thinking at all.”