Haaretz Accuses “Righteous Gentile” Polish Bishop of Participating in Anti-Jewish Church Service

An unpleasant scene in Krakow; from Haaretz:

Sunday’s incident in Krakow at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was rife with overtones of hatred. “The Jews are attacking us! We need to defend ourselves,” shouted Prof. Bogoslav Wolniewicz, to stormy applause.

About 1,000 people gathered for special services Sunday at the church, organized by the Committee Against Defamation of the Church and For Polishness, along with the anti-Semitic Radio Maryja. Local residents were informed of the service by posters that proclaimed: “The kikes will not continue to spit on us.”

The elderly auxiliary Bishop of Krakow, Albin Malysiak, was said to have been present and to have delivered a sermon:

“A man who does not love his homeland, but some sort of international entity, apparently also does not love his nearest and dearest,” he said.

The paper claims that

The speakers directed their anger at [author Jan] Gross, at Jews in general, at Jews from Brooklyn in particular, at Poles who are willing to sell them anything for money, at Righteous Among the Nations Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, at a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Jewish-Polish affairs; and at the newspaper that, in their eyes, represents the Polish left, Gazeta Wyborcza, and its editor, Adam Michnik.

Gross is the author of a book on anti-Semitism in post-war Poland (entitled Fear) which has sparked considerable controversy, and which may result in the author being prosecuted criminal slander (which apparently carries a jail sentence). This Spiegel article has further details.

However, Malysiak’s involvement in this event is rather unexpected, as he has been honoured as a “Polish righteous”:

Sister Bronislawa Wilemski was recognized as “Righteous” together with bishop Albin Malysiak (q.v.) and honored with him on Sept. 13, 1994. They are credited with saving five (5) Jews. Maria Rolicka, one of the persons saved, was in attendance. They procured them false documents and placed them in Helclow House for invalid people in Cracow.

One person (in the comments section at Harry’s Place) has suggested that, as Malysiak is retired and now has only an “emeritus” position, the journalist has confused him with Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. Dziwisz has been a vocal critic of the Gross book, which he claims has “awakened the demon” of anti-Semitism.

Bogoslav Wolniewicz, meanwhile, is better-known as “Boguslaw Wolniewicz”, an author of dense Wittgensteinian philosophical treatises. This is not his first public defence of Radio Maryja; Warsaw Voice noted in 2006:

Radio Maryja also reported that a group of individuals supporting the station had founded a Public Team for Media Ethics. “It has arisen from the need for strength, from the fact that an intention exists to muzzle the freedom of public discussion, in other words to introduce indirect censorship,” said retired Prof. Boguslaw Wolniewicz, who heads the group.

In 2007, Radio Maryja published a “statement” from Wolniewicz in English, in which he explains why, although an atheist, he supports the station:

I do not believe in God and I have always stated that openly but this special gathering organized by Radio Maryja is taking me by my heart (and yet I am an unbeliever) but those Catholic elite is not taken by heart or moved by it. Moreover, they are not only not moved by it but they want to destroy this. Immediately after the meeting they insulted one of the organizers of that meeting. I can see that this is a kind of wild hostility towards Radio Maryja which I can not understand. I am not surprised that this kind of hostility comes from Mr. Aleksander Smolar who is one of the chief officers of the “Batory Fundation” which serves Mr. George Soros and his unclear intentions regarding Poland…Mr. President! There are in our country and outside certain powers that, at any cost, want to destroy Radio Maryja.

Wolniewicz, and Radio Maryja, insist that accusations of anti-Semitism are slander. The charm offensive, though, doesn’t appear to have worked…

I last looked at anti-Semitism in Poland here and here.