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Category: Antisemitism & Israel
Tags: (Communism), (Nationalism - Populism),

The Anti-Semitic Purge in Poland

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In 1967 Israel won the Six-Day War. Moscow and the USSR satellite countries supported the Arab coalition. After this event, relations between the “Eastern Block” and Israel deteriorated dramatically. Poland broke off diplomatic relations with this country. A year later, as a result of internal purges in the Communist Party, an antisemitic campaign began with anti-Israel and anti-Zionist themes at its core.


As a result of the antisemitic campaign led by the communist authorities (not society) between 13,000 and 15,000 Jewish Poles (mostly the elite and intelligentsia – professors, generals, doctors, etc.) were expelled from Poland. They received a “one way ticket” and even lost Polish citizenship.


After “March 1968”, the Polish Jewish world almost ceased to exist. It was a demographic catastrophe. Many Jews started hiding their identity. Nowadays as a result many young people discover their veiled Jewish roots and go back to Judaism, receiving Polish citizenship as descendants of those who fled Poland in 1968.


Of those who stayed, the average age of the members of the Jewish communities was around 60-70 years old. There were simply not enough people to celebrate the Jewish holidays and carry on the traditions. They began to move away from judaism. They hid their identity. It was only 23 years after the Shoah, and again Polish Jews had to suffer because of their roots. Poland lost many important figures and very well educated people.

One of the consequences which is still visible abroad is a strong anti-Polonism among the descendants of the 1968 “refugees”.



The Anti-Zionist Campaign in Poland 1967–1968 Dariusz Stola

Albani, Susanne. “Zwischen Nationalismus und Antisemitismus. Die antisemitische Kampagne in der Volksrepublik Polen 1968 und die Rolle der katholischen Laienorganisationen”, Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung 25 (2016), 170-192.


Prof. Lipstadt o wystawie “Obcy w domu. Wokół Marca ’68” | Muzeum POLIN

Short movie about the temporary exhibition on March 1968 with commentary (ENG)

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