Ominous Backdrop For Krakow Fest
The Jewish Week
Popular Jewish culture event set against rising forces of nationalism in Poland’s coalition government.
When the 16th annual Krakow Jewish Culture Festival kicks off Saturday, the festivities will occur in the Polish city where there are more Jewish studies students at the university than Jews in the local community. Klezmer musicians, cooks, dancers, cantors, drummers, calligraphers and others will teach and perform to a largely Polish audience, peppered with local and diaspora Jews, scheduled to arrive from all over the globe to take part in the weeklong series of cultural events…
But racist groups are also stepping up their activity. The Web site Redwatch, started by the British neo-Nazi group Combat 18, has been publishing the photos and personal data of members of minority groups in Poland. As a result, Jewish student leaders have reported receiving threatening text messages while homosexuals, human rights workers and journalists have been physically attacked.
Despite the political climate, Folwarczny said that the renaissance of Jewish culture is continuing.
Anyone interested in helping to preserve Polish and other citizens’ ability to attend such cultural events may like to contact Redwatch’s sponsor DreamHost, the Los Angeles-based web hosting provider and domain name registrar and the web hosting branch of New Dream Network, LLC, founded in April 1996 by four undergraduate students at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, and now at risk of losing hosting over 275,000 domain names (as of May 21, 2006) on a network of Linux-based servers.
So too, those of us who would like to see the fascist intimidation of Holocaust educators stop…
Police in the north-eastern city of Białystok are investigating an incident involving an assault on a teacher who lectures on the Holocaust by a group of Polish neo-Nazis. The woman was not hurt but was scared into hiding.
March 14, 2006
According to agency reports, the Polish branch of the notorious neo-Nazi group Blood and Honor, which has links to yet another fascist faction Combat 18, was behind the knife threat against a woman who teaches Polish children about the Holocaust in the city of Bialystok in the north-east. The group called the Holocaust lecturer ‘an enemy of the white race’ and threatened to put a knife in her back.
Her photograph, telephone number and a list of threats were pasted on their web site. Jacek Purski from Never Again, a foundation that has launched many anti–fascist campaigns in Poland has been monitoring the Blood and Honor web site. Purski says that Blood and Honor have been pretty active pasting names and phone numbers of potential victims on their home page.
“In the very beginning it was just a few addresses and nothing serious. But later they started publishing a lot of lists of anti-fascist crusaders, gay and lesbian community members, so the page became more and more dangerous.”
Photographs of the neo Nazi Blood and Honor group have appeared in the Polish press. Last year the group was photographed taking part in a clandestine gathering in the north of the country. But eye witness reports have not managed to help authorities catch the group red handed. The neo-Nazis have somehow managed to keep one step ahead of the police. Jacek Purski again.
“What the neo–Nazis want to achieve is to scare us. The web site is run from a US server, so it is in the United States and the site is considered legal.”
The Blood and Honor Group have already threatened Jacek Purski by phone but such threats have gone unnoticed.
“I wasn’t scared and I expected such phone calls after they published my name and phone number on their web site… Our Never Again anti-racism and anti-fascist campaigns are targeted against such groups.”
For the time being the Holocaust lecturer from Białystok is keeping a low profile. She originally caught Blood and Honor members attention because the school where she is conducting Holocaust studies achieved top honors in a nation wide competition sponsored by Children of the Holocaust organization.
Certainly folks like Marek Edelman shouldn’t be abandoned by the international anti-racist and anti-fascist community to fight Polish neo-Nazism alone… should he?
Ghetto survivor warns of Polish ‘fascism’
June 24, 2006
As a 24-year-old banished to the Warsaw ghetto with thousands of fellow Polish Jews, Marek Edelman decided that the only way to fight the Nazis was to take up arms.
More than six decades later, the last surviving leader of the ghetto’s courageous but doomed uprising of 1943 said he thought similar action justified in today’s Poland…
In memory of Natus Weisblatt and 1.5 million Jewish children.