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Holocaust survivor warns Polish leaders over Nazi groups

The mayor of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz,center, addresses a rally he organized in protest against a recent gathering by far-right groups in this Baltic coast city, in Gdansk, Poland, on Saturday, April 21, 2018. A Holocaust survivor slammed Poland’s right-wing government for failing to condemn these groups. (Wojciech Strozyk/Associated Press)

WARSAW, Poland — A Holocaust survivor told people at a counter-rally held Saturday in a Polish city where far-right groups marched a week earlier that Poland’s leaders tolerate organizations with Nazi-inspired ideologies.

Some 1,500 people gathered in Gdansk, the cradle of Poland’s pro-democracy Solidarity movement in the 1980s, to protest the convention the far-right groups held in the city and to alert Poland’s government to the growing threat of fascism.

Magdalena Wyszynska, 96, a Jewish survivor of the Lvov ghetto, told the crowd that the lack of reaction by Poland’s right-wing government could suggests its leaders are “more concerned for the widening of their electorate than for our security.”

Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, who organized the rally Saturday, said it was a “shame” that many Poles haven’t learned from history and don uniforms of nationalist and fascist organizations that sowed hatred before and during World War II.

Hidden camera footage recently shown on Poland’s TVN24 showed neo-Nazis celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday in Nazi uniforms in southwestern Poland. There was no condemnation from the authorities.

Wyszynska said Polish authorities are giving “silent consent” to groups such as All-Poland Youth and the National Radical Camp that promote ideas that should be banned.

Last year, an annual Independence Day march the groups hold parallel to Poland’s official celebrations featured nationalist and racist slogans.

Poland lost some 6 million citizens, half of them Jews, under Nazi German occupation during the war.


(2018) The Associated Press

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