JHI director Monika Krawczyk notifies the prosecutor's office about the events in Kalisz

Written by: Jewish Historical Institute
On 11th November 2021, an anti-Semitic demonstration took place in Kalisz, during which the text of the Kalisz Statute, a document from the 13th century granting civil rights to Jews, was publicly burnt, in order to intice hatred against Jews. The director of the Jewish Historical Institute, Monika Krawczyk, submitted an official notification of a suspected cirme to the prosecutor's office.

On 11th November 2021, the text of the Kalisz Statute was publicly burned in Kalisz. The Statute was a tolerance privilege for Jews, issued in 1264 by the prince of Kalisz, Bolesław the Pious. The demonstrators chanted antisemitic slurs. This event was condemned by city and state authorities as well as representatives of religious communities. The director of the Jewish Historical Institute, Monika Krawczyk, submitted a notification of suspicion of a crime to the prosecutor's office. 


The notification concerns:

(1) people taking part in a demonstration in Kalisz who were supposed to shout "death to the Jews";

(2) Piotr Rybak, who was to speak in public the following: "Who represents us in the Seym, who represents us in the Senate, who represents us in the government? And now they have gone down to the cities, to the communes. Yes, yes, these Polish-speaking people from Israel are working against the Polish nation. Under hidden surnames... We, Poles, cannot allow them to dominate our country. We must fight and we must not give up, because Poland is our motherland, because Poland is our mother, and we must fight for her. Dear fellow countrymen, Poles have the hardest time in their own homeland. Therefore, when we unite, we will win and we will chase this Polish-speaking mob, like in 1968, to Israel"; 

(3) Wojciech Olszański, under the pseudonim of 'Aleksander Jabłonowski', who was supposed to be the organiser of the demonstration, said: "LGBTs, pederasts, Zionists are the enemies of Poland. Get out of our country! To Brussels!". 


The suspicion is of the following crimes having been commited: 

(1) public incitement to hatred on the basis of national, ethnic, racial and religious differences; 

(2) incitement to the crime of using violence against a national and religious group;

(3) insulting the Polish Nation by striving to expel from the country a part of that Nation belonging to a religious and ethnic minority;

(4) directing threats that the Jewish community could be reasonably fearful of. 

These activities should be considered antisemitic in light of the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) working definition of antisemitism, which was supported by Poland in 2016 and 2021. According to this definition, "Antisemitism is a specific perception of Jews that can be expressed as hatred towards them. Antisemitism manifests itself both in words and in actions against Jews or non-Jews and their property, and against the institutions and religious objects of the Jewish community". 


The Kalisz Statute was granted in 1264 to Jews of Greater Poland by the prince of Kalisz, Bolesław the Pious. The prince guaranteed protection for Jews and the right to organize religious communities, as well as freedom of economic activity. He declared severe penalties for Christians in the event of killing a Jew, attacking a synagogue or devastating a Jewish cemetery. It forbade accusing Jews of ritual murder. In 1334, Casimir the Great extended the validity of the Statute to all of Poland [1]. 



[1] Paweł Fijałkowski, Status Kaliski [The Kalisz Statute], Polish Judaic Dictionary, https://delet.jhi.pl/pl/psj?articleId=16244, accessed on 15th November 2021.

Jewish Historical Institute