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February 09, 1996 - Image 138

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-02-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Polish Minister
Offers Apology

New York (JTA) — The Polish
foreign minister has asked the
Jewish community for forgive-
ness for the Kielce Pogrom of
1946, which was an "act of Polish
anti-Semitism," according to a
letter he wrote to the World Jew-
ish Congress.
"The new democratic Poland
deeply regrets and mourns all the
injustice suffered by the Jewish
people," Dariusz Rosati also said
in the letter. "In 1996, we shall
shed tears over the victims of the
infamous Kielce Pogrom, which
was committed 50 years ago dur-
ing the chaos of the Polish civil
war."
Elan Steinberg, executive di-
rector of the World Jewish Con-
gress, said, "This is an important
development in Poland's con-
frontation with its history, lead-
ing to a more honest dialogue in
Polish-Jewish relations."
Kielce, a southern Polish city
that had a Jewish population of
24,000 at the outbreak of World
War II, was virtu a lly eliminated
during the Holocaust. When the
Soviet army captured Kielce in
January 1945, only two Jews re-
mained.
Polish anti-Semitism was in-
tense in the mid-1940s, and ru-
mors spread that masses of Jews
would soon return to claim their
former houses and belongings. It
was also rumored that the blood
libel, the false accusation that
Jews murder Christian children
and drain their blood for ritual
use was taking place.
In early July 1946, a mob at-
tacked and massacred 42 Jews
and wounded about 50 more.
The event, which touched off a
mass Jewish migration from
Central and Eastern European
countries, ended the 1,000-year
history of the Jews of Poland.
The foreign minister said in
the letter, "For centuries, we have
benefited from the contribution
of the Jewish community living
in Poland. They have enriched
our economy, our culture and our
social life."
He said his country was com-
mitted to "solving problems re-
garding restitution of former
Jewish property in present-day
Poland."
"We shall seek the just and
proper solution to this important
issue," Mr. Rosati said. "To all
those who wish to reclaim their
Polish citizenship, we extend our
friendship and we offer assis-
tance."

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