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Burning Of A Jewish Effigy In Wroclaw

This antisemitic event took place in the market square of Wroclaw in 2016, during a protest by the far-right and nationalist organization ONR (Odrodzenie Narodowe Polski – National Rebirth of Poland). The protest was targeted against the flow of refugees from the Middle East into the European Union. The main organizer of the protest, Piotr Rybak, claimed the whole “process of accepting Islamists to Europe” is financed by George Soros. Since the aforementioned alleged financier has Jewish roots, the puppet set on fire served as a stereotypical representation of a Jew.

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According to the explanation of the main organizer of the protest, the massive influx of immigrants from the Middle East was financed by George Soros. The claim is that Jews and their capital supposedly pull the strings of socially controversial phenomena, once again using “Jewish guilt” to fuel hatred.

In a trial that lasted several years, after several appeals, the perpetrator of the burning of the effigy was sentenced to 10 months in prison. The consequences of the event are best illustrated by the judge’s justification of the sentence.

He mentioned that the effigy symbolized an Orthodox Jew wearing a shawl, a hat, and pajamas. This was interpreted as a reference to antisemitic stereotypes, evoking Nazi propaganda. The fact that the defendant had doused her with a flammable substance and set her on fire, suggested pre-planned “ceremonial behavior”, according to the judge. He recalled the Holocaust, when “Jews were burned in crematoria”. He said that people of Jewish nationality were understandably afraid when they saw the burning effigy. The judge also added that the incident in Wrocław’s Market Square was very harmful to Poland.

The Jewish community perceived the event primarily as a manifestation of aggressive antisemitism, reminiscent of the Nazi terrors in the 1930s.

The use of the age-old stereotype of “Jewish guilt” should be publicly denounced. Also on private grounds, in conversations with family and friends when the argument of Jewish conspiracy is raised, we should intervene and try to put an end to this kind of discourse.

Legislation and criminal law should condemn such anti-Semitic incidents more strongly and severely.

References

Wrocław: Spalił kukłę Żyda, idzie do więzienia (article published on November 21, 2016, in Gazeta Wroclawska about the burning of  Jewish effigy in Wroclaw)

Polish anti-refugee protesters burn effigy of Orthodox Jew (article published on November 15, 2015, in The Times of Israel about burning a Jewish effigy)

Polish Anti-Refugee Demonstrators Burn Effigies of Orthodox Jews at Wroclaw Protest (VIDEO) (article published on November 18, 2015, in Algemeiner)

Visuals

https://bit.ly/3kuzhfG (Anti-refugee demonstrators burn effigies of Orthodox Jews at a protest in Wroclaw on November 18, 2015)

https://bit.ly/3lEq83a (The man who burned an effigy of a Jew during an anti-islamification protest in November 2015 in Wroclaw)

https://bit.ly/3hVNkch (The man who burned an effigy of a Jew during an anti-islamification protest in November 2015 in Wroclaw)

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