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The easter celebration starts debate on anti-semitism in Poland

the Custom to blame Jesus ' death on the jews has a long history in Europe and finds one of its most barbaric expression in a ritual ill-treatment and execution of Judas Iscariot, the disciple who according to the Bible, betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

the Tradition has lived on in the orthodox Greece, but also among catholics in Latin america. Yet it took the Vatican as early as 1965 distance from the idea that jews as a collective were responsible for the crucifixion.

now pops up again in Poland raises, therefore a lot of emotion. Especially as the halmfyllda doll in Pruchnik had all the similarities to a stereotypical jew – including screw curls you and a huge nose.

– Jews are deeply disturbed by that it revives this sort of ghastly medieval anti-semitism, " said Robert Singer, the leader of the World Jewish Congress in a statement.

Also, the catholic church in Poland condemned the incident, and the country's interior minister, called it ”idiotic”.

Children turns on a doll that is supposed to be Judas. Photo: Hubert Lewkowicz/AFP

at the same time, others saw the incident as a conspiracy. Jan Dziedziczak, a member of parliament of the governing party Law and justice (PIS), said in an interview that it was ”an operation to show Poland in an unfavourable light”, with the aim to stop an american military base on Polish soil.

is complicated. Over the centuries, the country had Europe's largest jewish population and during the second world war, the German occupation, it became the main stage for the Holocaust. Three million Polish jews were murdered by the nazis.

Today's right-wing populist government brought in last year, international outrage with a bill that made it a criminal offence to claim that any single pole was medskyldig to the Holocaust.

Many poles are rightly outraged that the expression ”Polish death camps” is sometimes used by foreigners – because it moves on the German camps on Polish soil. At the same time, it is also undoubtedly the case that the individual poles betrayed the jews, and even participated in the killing, as in the widely publicized massacre in Jedwabne in 1941. Just like the other christian poles risked their lives to save their jewish compatriots.

fewer than 10,000 jews. Anti-semitic crimes to occur, but evidently on a smaller scale than in western european countries such as Germany and France. Of the 624 hate crimes that were reported in 2017 was directed 78 against the jews – compared with 123 against muslims.

In an international survey from 2018 said more than 70 per cent of the poles to accept jews as fellow citizens. 18 per cent said they did not. Negative attitudes towards muslims and the roma was far more widespread – and several others before this östblocksländer was more prejudiced against the jews.

at the same time, many noted that the public television channel TVP in recent years have been released until tasteless jokes about jews and gas chambers, something that had previously been unthinkable.

And, above all, the government criticism that it condones – and even encourages – groups on the far right who are often openly anti-semitic. In the traditional Självständighetsmarschen in november each year, the marching ministers and the president mr Andrzej Duda with extreme organisations like the neo-fascist ONR.

heard, and is often seen in the public sphere. When the united states ambassador, Georgette Mosbacher on Sunday tweeted on the Polish with a message about the jewish easter, pesach, she received the immediate response from Robert Bakiewicz, one of ONR's leaders:

”Christ died and was resurrected also for the wife of the ambassador, for the pagans and unbelieving jews.”

Mosbacher desired in a follow-up tweet also christian poles a happy easter, but Krystyna Pawlowicz, a prominent member of parliament for PIS, called her message ”a provocation”.

Such statements from the corridors of power, might do as much to reduce Poland's reputation as the shocking images from Pruchnik.

Read more: the Fascists marched on Poland's big day

Read more: Controversial Polish law provides for the anti-semitism free rein.

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