Poland - “Death to Jews” chanted at torchlit far-right march in Kalisz

- Hundreds of people joined a far-right march in the city of Kalisz yesterday at which participants chanted “Death to Jews” and burned a copy of a famous historical document that granted Jews the right to settle in Poland.

Their actions have been criticised by the mayor, who has notified prosecutors of a potential crime and passed on police recordings of the event. The organiser of the march – an extremist figure with pro-Russian views – is already under investigated by the authorities over his provocative behaviour.

The event took place on Poland’s Independence Day, but was unrelated to the much larger nationalist march that passed through Warsaw.

In Kalisz, a city of 100,000 people in central Poland, participants marched to the historic market square chanting “death to enemies of the fatherland”, reported local news website Nasze Miasto.

Then, in front of the town hall, members of the crowd shouted “death to Jews” while a copy of the Statute of Kalisz was burned. The latter document, issued in the 13th century, granted Jews legal protection and rights in Poland at a time when they were facing persecution elsewhere in Europe.

The crowd then chanted “this is Poland, not Polin”, referring to the Hebrew name for Poland. The slogan is often used by Polish nationalists to suggest that alleged Jewish influence over Poland must be removed.
“LGBT, pederasts and Zionists are the enemies of Poland,” declared the organiser of the march, Aleksander Jabłoński, quoted by Onet. During his speech he also criticised Covid vaccines.

“Polish-speaking people from Israel are working against the Polish nation under hidden names,” said another speaker, Piotr Rybak, a far-right figure who was previously convicted for burning a Jewish effigy in public. “We will chase off this mob to Israel, just like in 1968.”

The latter remark was a reference to purges in communist Poland that saw thousands of Jews driven out of the country in the late 1960s.