Anti-homophobia demonstrations in Poland


This 8 July 2020 video is called ‘We are the most homophobic country in the EU’: Poland’s election and the LGBT fightback.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 9 August 2020:

‘You will not lock all of us up,’ LGBT rights protesters warn in wave of Polish protest

PROTESTS against homophobia took place in Warsaw, Krakow, Lublin, Wroclaw and other Polish cities on the first weekend since right-wing President Andrzej Duda was sworn in for a second term.

“You will not lock all of us up!” demonstrators chanted at the thousands-strong Warsaw rally, part of an intensifying standoff between the country’s LGBT movement and the government.

Mr Duda has called the LGBT movement the vehicle for “an ideology … even more destructive” than communism and ran on a pledge to “defend children” from it.

Bosses expose Polish migrant workers to coronavirus


This 22 April 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus: Singapore’s migrant workers ‘living in fear’ – BBC News

A rising wave of infections among Singapore’s massive migrant worker population threatens to derail the city-state’s success in fighting the coronavirus.

About 80% of all cases in Singapore have been linked to the dormitories where low paid migrant workers from South Asia are housed.

Singapore has now sealed off multiple dormitories, as the government carries out extensive testing and tries to move healthy workers out, but questions are being raised about why more wasn’t done to protect them.

People living in the dorms said they were scared about getting ill, and about what the future holds for them.

We agreed to protect the identity of the workers who spoke to the BBC.

Edited by Christine Hah.

Translated from Gert Janssen of Dutch NOS TV:

Hardly any workplace controls, sick migrants forced to keep working

The inspectorate does not come to the spot to report on an unsafe work situation for labor migrants. Due to the corona crisis, their reports are discussed by telephone with the employers concerned, in the hope that the situation will then improve. This is evident from a memo by the Inspectorate of Social Affairs and Employment that Nieuwsuur TV show has obtained.

Migrant workers tell Nieuwsuur that they are now often forced to continue working when they are sick or have to work too closely together.

Fever and sore throat, still have to work

One of them is 28-year-old Polish Paulina. She worked at an employment agency in the Westland for seven weeks to earn money for her three children in Poland. She made chicken and pork skewers. But when she got a fever and started coughing, she was not reported sick. She no longer received a salary and had to leave her home, unless she started working as a driver to transport migrant workers in vans. She resigned in early April.

Two other Polish workers only want to tell their stories anonymously, for fear of being fired. One of them works in a biscuit factory in the river region. About 150 people work there, sixty percent of whom come from Poland. “A few weeks ago, about 30 people in the factory were sick. They had a fever, had a cough, and had a sore throat. But the team leader and manager just told them to come to work.”

Another Polish woman works at the office of an employment agency in the greenhouse area between Hoek van Holland and The Hague. She experienced that sick migrant workers themselves were forced to write their resignation letter, so that the employer no longer had any costs. “Then they would be out in three hours, with no home, money or idea where to go.”

Polish migrant workers also complain about the workplaces, where it is sometimes impossible to keep a meter and a half apart.

Telephone inspection ‘a joke’

Normally, the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate supervises a workplace about safety, including physical checks at the workplace. But a memo that was distributed on April 8 says that because of corona the approach is now different. “In view of the exceptional situation, it has been decided to first contact the employer by telephone with the reports that the Inspectorate wishes to investigate further. This is part of the no, unless approach.”

The Inspectorate will only visit the workplace if there are urgent, serious accidents at work or clear signs of labor exploitation.

FNV trade union federation director John Klijn finds the attitude of the inspectorate incomprehensible. “If they call such an employer, they will, of course, be told nine times out of ten that everything is hunky-dory. But as long as they do not physically enter the businesses to check whether they are corona proof, this actually makes no sense at all. A joke.”

Coronavirus in the Netherlands: here. And here.

Female wild mammals live longer than males


This 2013 video from Poland is called Red Deer Rut/ Mating Season. Sir David Attenborough‘s opinion.

From the University of Southern Denmark:

Female lifespan is longer in wild mammal animals than in humans

March 25, 2020

On average, women live longer than men: About 90% of people reaching 110 years old or more are women. The current record holder is Jeanne Calment, who was 122 years old, when she died in 1997.

Now a new study shows, that even greater differences in lifespan are found in wild mammals. The average female wild mammal lives 18.6 % longer than her male counterpart. In humans, the difference is “only” 7.8 %.

The study was conducted by researchers from University of Southern Denmark and University Lyon 1 in collaboration with several international teams. It is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Moose, killer whale and sheep

“The greatest differences are found in animals like common brushtail possum, lion, killer whale, moose, greater kudu and sheep,” says Fernando Colchero, associate professor and an expert in biostatistics at Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics, University of Southern Denmark.

The researchers compiled demographic data for more than 130 wild mammal populations and were able to estimate the average longevity and the rate of increase in the risk of dying as a function of age for both sexes.

The analyzes led to unexpected results. Not only do females generally live longer than males in wild mammals, but the difference in longevity between the sexes, although very variable depending on the population, in the vast majority of cases exceeds the difference observed in human populations.

Lower risk of female mortality during adulthood

“For about half of the mammal populations studied, the increased risk of mortality with age is actually more pronounced in females than in males,” Fernando Colchero explains.

These results show that the larger longevity of females than males is most likely due to other factors that affect individuals during their entire adult life.

To reach this conclusion, Colchero and his colleagues calculated the average age at death, as well as the rate at which mortality increases with age.

Is risky male behavior a cause?

There is a common belief that males engage in potentially dangerous sexual competitions and live riskier lives than females, and that this could account for their shorter lifespan.

Contrary to this idea, this study reveals that the intensity of sexual selection does not directly modulate the amplitude of the differences in longevity observed between the sexes.

The results rather suggest that complex interactions between the physiological characteristics specific to each sex and local environmental conditions are at play.

We see many variations in the species studied. For some species, the males actually have the longest lifespan. That said, there is a statistically clear trend and there are a number of plausible explanations, says Dalia Conde, associate professor and an expert in animal conservation, Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark.

Why do the females live longer?

One explanation is that males often are larger and put more energy in sexual characters such as growing larger horns than females. This requires energy, and if the animals live in a harsh climate, the males may be more vulnerable to these extreme environmental conditions.

One example is bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), When these animals live in an environment where resources are consistently available, there are almost no differences in their lifespans. But when they live in harsher environments, where winters are more severe, the males live much shorter lives.

Another explanation is that males produce more androgens (male hormones) than females. Androgens modulate immune performance and when present at high levels, they can impair some aspects of the immune defense, making males more susceptible to infections and diseases.

Sick Polish black-headed gull recovered in Malta


This 21 February 2020 video says about itself:

Earlier in February 2020 we got called by a fisherman who rescued this Black-headed Gull off St Thomas Bay in Malta. To our surprise, the gull bore colour rings denoting its origin from Poland.

A quick look at its history from our EURING partners revealed to us that this bird was originally ringed as a one-year-old near Warsaw in Poland on 24th November 2018. It was also spotted last year at Salina Nature Reserve on 10th February 2019, and had also been wintering back at Salina this year along with the thousands of gulls that find refuge here in winter.

After some time under our care, this Black-headed Gull returned healthy and has once again been released at Salina. We hope it returns safely to Poland to raise the next generation of Black-headed Gulls that will visit Salina once again in winter!

Watch this video documenting the gull’s release back into the wild at Salina on 21st February. Salina Park Manager Manuel Mallia also speaks about BirdLife Malta’s own colour-ringing project, specifically for Mediterranean Gulls.

Footage by Samuel Henderson. Editing by Nathaniel Attard.

Statue of child abusing priest torn down


This 21 February 2019 video says about itself:

Polish activists pull down statue of disgraced priest

Activists in Poland have pulled down a statue of a disgraced late priest after mounting allegations that he sexually abused minors. They acted under cover of night early Thursday to make a protest about the failure of the Polish church to deal with the problem of abuse.

Video footage shows three men attaching a rope around the statue of Mgr. Henryk Jankowski in Gdansk and then pulling it down. Jankowski was a prominent priest of the Solidarity … movement in the 1980s who died in 2010.

The private broadcaster TVN24 reported the three were arrested. Their action comes as church leaders gather at the Vatican to grapple with the sex abuse crisis in the church.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday, February 22, 2019

Protesters tear down statue of child-abusing anti-communist priest

PROTESTERS tore down a statue of anti-communist priest Monsignor Henryk Jankowski in Gdansk yesterday as accusations he was a child abuser multiplied.

Video showed three men pull the statue to the ground and then place children’s underwear in one of its hands and a small white laced vestment worn by altar boys on its body to symbolise the suffering of children molested by paedophile priests.

Mgr Jankowski, who died in 2010, was a leading member of the Solidarnosc movement which campaigned for the overthrow of the socialist system in Poland in the 1980s and a close ally of its chief Lech Walesa.

He received Western leaders including George HW Bush and Margaret Thatcher, known for her close relationship with British child abuser Jimmy Savile, at his St Brygida church where they congratulated him for his anti-communist activities.

The protest took place as the Vatican hosted its largest conference yet on child abuse by the clergy.

Pope Francis showed videos of victims testifying to horrific abuse and told bishops the world expected action to tackle the scandal, not merely condemnation of it.

Clergy: An uncompromising film about the hypocrisy and corruption of the Catholic Church in Poland: here.

Former Polish Priest Indicted For Hate Speech And Holocaust Denial: here.

Fascists march in Auschwitz


This 17 November 2017 video from Britain says about itself:

Jayda confirms that Britain First [Donald Trump’s favourite British neonazis] support antisemitism

You’ve probably seen that Paul and Jayda’s chum has been sent to prison in Poland and they have posted this video entitled “VIDEO: Jayda Fransen calls for the release of Polish political prisoner Piotr Rybak!”

Now, Rybak isn’t a “political prisoner”. Rybak is a nasty, bigoted antisemitic fool. I have a feeling that is why Paul and Jayda get on with him so well. He has been sent to prison for 10 months as he burned a Jewish effigy at a far right march in Wroclaw last year.

He did put forward the excuse that he “wanted to burn an effigy of George Soros”, however what he did was burn an effigy of a stereotypical right wing depiction of an Orthodox Jew. He backed up his defence by saying that he “didn’t know what George Soros looked like so didn’t know if the effigy was right”.

You’d have thought that if you were wanting to burn an effigy of someone you didn’t like, that you would actually know who it was that you didn’t like…..and if you didn’t know what they looked like then there’s this little thing called Google which can help.

So, quite rightly, he has been convicted for “incitement to hatred on the basis of nationality, ethnicity or religion”. So, not only willing to go against Muslims in the U.K, it seems that Britain First are now also outing themselves as antisemitic/supporting people in being antisemitic.

⚠️⚠️TRIGGER WARNING⚠️⚠️ Jayda is in full on screech mode here, and has even bought a t shirt with Rybak’s face on it.

By Clara Weiss:

Fascists march in Auschwitz

31 January 2019

On January 27, on the 74th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp of Auschwitz by the Soviet Red Army, between 50 and 100 Polish fascists marched through the doors of the camp, where more than 1 million European Jews were gassed by the Nazis during World War II. The fascists sang the Polish national anthem and shouted anti-Semitic slogans. The leader of the demonstration, Piotr Rybak, infamous for burning an effigy representing a Jew in 2015, stated that “It’s time to fight against Jewry and free Poland from them!”

Such a demonstration of far-right anti-Semitism at the Auschwitz memorial, which is universally seen as a symbol for the horrific crimes perpetrated by fascism, is historically unprecedented. This outrageous event is the outcome of political processes that have been unfolding in Poland and throughout Eastern Europe since the dissolution of the Stalinist regimes and the restoration of capitalism.

This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the dissolution of the Eastern European regimes through their Stalinist bureaucracies in 1989. Shortly thereafter, in December 1991, the Soviet bureaucracy destroyed the Soviet Union and fully restored capitalism in Russia. …

This counter-revolutionary process was hailed and justified by bourgeois ideologists as a “democratic revolution”. The result, workers were told, would be democracy, peace and prosperity for all. The opposite has been the case.

The restoration of capitalism has given rise to obscene levels of social inequality throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and immiserated tens of millions of workers. It has also transformed the region into a center stage for the systematic preparations of imperialism for another world war. Virtually all of these countries are now ruled by rabidly nationalist regimes that are preparing for war, promoting anti-Semitism, and enacting police state measures.

The fascist protesters express what is the official state policy in Poland. In early 2018, the Polish government, led by the far-right Law and Justice Party (PiS), outlawed any mention of crimes perpetrated by Poles against Jews during the Holocaust. Since then, numerous historians working on Polish anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish pogroms have been fired from their jobs.

In November, prominent state officials, including the Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who participated in the official Auschwitz commemoration ceremony on January 27, marched alongside fascists from Poland and other European countries on Polish independence day.

The resurgence of fascism in Poland and other Eastern European countries is a particularly sharp expression of what is an international process.

In Germany, the Grand Coalition has deliberately made the neo-fascist Alternative for Germany (AfD) the principal opposition party and has adopted key aspects of its policies and rhetoric. While hundreds of thousands have demonstrated against the far-right over the past year, Jörg Baberowski, the Humboldt University academic, who has publicly stated that “Hitler wasn’t vicious”, is allowed to relativize crimes of Nazism with the backing of the leading political parties and media at the prestigious Humboldt University in Berlin.

In France, president Emmanuel Macron, who has presided over a violent crack-down on the yellow vest movement, recently hailed the fascist dictator Philippe Pétain as a “great soldier.”

In Ukraine, the celebration of Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera and his movement, which engaged in mass murder of Poles, Jews and Ukrainian civilians during World War II, has become official state policy since the US-backed far-right coup in February 2014.

By Clara Weiss:

Anti-Semitic propaganda distributed at Polish parliament as government witch-hunts Holocaust historians

16 March 2019

On Wednesday, an edition of the right-wing newspaper Tylko Polska with a front page article on “How to spot a Jew” was distributed at the Polish Sejm (parliament). In the manner of Nazi-style anti-Semitic propaganda, the article listed “names, anthropological features, expressions, appearances, character traits, methods of operation” and “disinformation activities” which allegedly allowed for identification of Jewish people.

“Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away,” on view at New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage through January 3, 2020, is the broadest and most inclusive exhibition ever presented in North America on the complex of concentration and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Poland in which 1.1 million human beings were murdered by the Nazis between 1940 and 1945, part of the Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million Jews: here.

Pro-climate demonstrations in Poland


This 10 December 2018 video says about itself:

Thousands Protest at U.N. Climate Summit in Coal-Heavy Poland, Facing Riot Police & Intimidation

This week Democracy Now! is broadcasting from the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland, where the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait have blocked language “welcoming” October’s landmark IPCC climate report that warned of the catastrophic effects of a global temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius, beyond which global crises could unfold at a rapid pace. The four countries rejected using the word “welcome”, insisting that members instead “note” the findings of the widely cited U.N. report. We begin our coverage with voices of some of the thousands of climate activists from around the world who marched in Katowice on Saturday, calling for world leaders to do more to keep rising greenhouse gas emissions in check. We also speak with a member of the European Parliament who confronted undercover Polish officials who were monitoring the protest.

This 10 December 2018 video says about itself:

“Shame On You!” Protesters Interrupt Trump Admin Promoting Coal & Fossil Fuels at U.N. Climate Talks

Just minutes before we began our Monday broadcast, Democracy Now! spoke to protesters at the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland, as they interrupted a Trump administration event promoting coal and other fossil fuels. We speak with Diné climate activist Leona Morgan.

Delegates from more than 200 countries are meeting in Katowice, Poland, in the annual United Nations ritual to discuss international climate change policy. This year’s conference is the third since the Paris Agreement. Dubbed “Paris 2.0,” it is devoted to working out the implementation details of the 2015 accord. Despite ample evidence that the Paris agreement itself is woefully inadequate, ambitions for Katowice remain low, with no expectation of a new round of more stringent pledges by nations this year. With US President Donald Trump in the process of withdrawing the world’s second largest polluter from Paris (the US remains a participant until at least 2020, the first opportunity for formal withdrawal), the conference is more likely to test the very survival of the agreement. Skepticism or outright opposition to Paris has grown from governments of key countries including Russia, Brazil and Australia: here.

Anti-global warming demonstration in Poland


This 9 December 2018 video says about itself:

🌍COP24: Protesters demand action to check global warming | Al Jazeera English

Activists have marched through the Polish city of Katowice, where a two-week United Nations climate summit – Katowice Climate Change Conference (COP24) – is under way. The protesters are calling for more action from governments to tackle global warming. However, attempts to incorporate a key scientific study into climate talks failed, after it was blocked by countries, including the United States and Saudi Arabia. Al Jazeera’s Victoria Gatenby reports.

The list of extreme weather caused by human-driven climate change grows. From droughts to deluges, scientists link 16 events in 2017 to global warming. By Carolyn Gramling, 10:41am, December 11, 2018.

Polish nazi band’s concerts cancelled


This video from Wales says about itself:

Cardiff venue apologises after booking band accused of being Neo-Nazis

25 May 2018

They described themselves as “the soundtrack to genocide

A popular Cardiff venue has issued an apology after unwittingly booking a band accused of being Neo-Nazis. As BBC News reports, his week saw Polish band Infernal War perform at The Globe on Tuesday. However, the band have been accused of having a “sick fascination with Nazi atrocities”. Their remaining UK tour dates have been cancelled. “Unfortunately it’s come to our attention that Infernal War, a touring support act on the Marduk show at The Globe earlier this week, are alleged to have links to, or share neo-Nazi and fascist beliefs”, said a spokesman from The Globe. “As a venue we pride ourselves on creating a safe space for artists.”

Wales: Cardiff venue apologises for ‘neo-Nazi’ Infernal War gig: here.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Concert venues cancel performances by Polish neo-Nazi band

Pop music venues 013 in Tilburg and P60 in Amstelveen have canceled performances by the Polish black metal band Infernal War. According to the venues, they were informed yesterday about statements by the band that they can not support. Infernal War calls their music “the soundtrack of genocide” and is said to have a fascination for the Nazis’ crimes.

The group was initially called Quintus and later renamed Infernal SS, a clear reference to the SS, the nazi elite units. The lead singer has the stage name Herr Warcrimer and one of the guitarists is called Zyklon, a reference to the gas zyklon B that was used in the gas chambers. The promotional shirt says “Pure Elite Aryan Terror”, which refers to the Aryan ideas of the nazis.

The band itself denies the connection with Nazi ideas. However, the singer of the band is a Holocaust denier. In an interview he called the Holocaust a myth. Although he said he did not rule out deaths of Jews in the concentration camps, he found the death toll of six million “ridiculous.” …

Infernal War has also been withdrawn from concerts this week in the United Kingdom.

Polish Jewish socialist Szmul Zygielbojm’s suicide in 1943


Szmul Zygielbojm

By David Rosenberg in Britain:

Friday, May 11, 2018

History: ‘Perhaps by my death I shall help break down the indifference’

Seventy-five years ago, Polish Jewish socialist Szmul Zygielbojm killed himself in his London flat in an effort to draw leaders’ attention to the plight of Poland’s Jews. DAVID ROSENBERG tells his story

“MY COMRADES in the Warsaw Ghetto perished with their weapons in their hands … It was not my destiny to die as they did, together with them.

“But I belong to them and in their mass graves … perhaps by my death I shall help to break down the indifference of those who have the possibility now, at the last moment, to save those Polish Jews still alive from certain annihilation…

“I wish that the surviving remnants of the several millions of Polish Jews could live to see, with the Polish population, the liberation that it could know in Poland, in a world of freedom and in the justice of socialism.”

The above quotes are an extract from a handful of suicide letters, left on a table in his London flat 75 years ago, by Szmul Zygielbojm, a Polish Jewish socialist, when he knew that the Ghetto Revolt had been extinguished.

His letters, addressed to allied leaders, the exiled Polish government and close political associates, made clear that his action was a political protest. He addressed one more letter to his landlady apologising for the distress he would cause her.

Zygielbojm, a factory worker at the age of 10, a glovemaker from 12, had been a councillor in Warsaw and Lodz, secretary of the Metal Workers Union, and represented Jewish trade unions in the Federation of all Polish Trade Unions.

When the nazi occupiers had instructed Jewish community leaders to build the ghetto walls, Zygielbojm told a large gathering of Jews not to go voluntarily into the ghetto.

The Gestapo demanded he attend “an interview”. His comrades hid him, obtained false identity papers and sent him to western Europe with a mission to reveal to world leaders the fate of Jews under nazi occupation and demand extraordinary action to rescue them.

From March 1942, until he took his own life, aged 48, in May 1943, Zygielbojm lived alone in London, representing the Jewish Socialist Bund in the exiled Polish National Council.

For 14 months, he bombarded political leaders, diplomats, the press and trade unions with first-hand information from the ghettos collected through underground resistance networks.

In a BBC broadcast in June 1942, he spoke of “Jews in the ghettos who … see their relatives dragged away en masse to their death, knowing only too well that their own turn will come.”

At a Labour Party protest meeting at Caxton House in September 1942, he revealed horrific details of the nazis’ first use of poison gas in carrying out mass murder. In just seven weeks, he declared, 40,000 Jews in Chelmno had been herded into vans and gassed as they were driven to mass graves in the forests.

The Warsaw Ghetto revolt began on April 19 1943. The nazis’ plan to liquidate the ghetto and kill or deport its remaining 30,000 inhabitants was blocked for three weeks by an astonishing guerilla campaign waged by 220 Bundists, communists and left-wing zionists aged between 13 and 40 years, using smuggled and improvised weapons.

On May 8 1943, most of the surviving fighters were holed up in a bunker beneath 18 Mila Street at the heart of the ghetto. The nazis threw in tear gas to force the occupants out.

Most of the fighters, including their commander Mordechaj Anielewicz, killed themselves rather than allow the Nazis to murder them.

Around 40 fighters, though, escaped through a rear exit into the sewers, emerging outside the ghetto seeking hiding places or heading to the forests to link with partisans.

The day the revolt began coincided with the Bermuda Conference at which British and US politicians and diplomats met for 11 days but failed to agree any plans to rescue Jews or offer sanctuary to refugees. Zygielbojm received this news as a bitter blow.

On May 11, when he knew for certain that the ghetto revolt had been crushed, he wrote his suicide letters and, that night, he ingested poison in his Paddington flat.

At that moment, Zygielbojm believed that his closest family in Poland had all been exterminated, but one son, Joseph, had fought as a Red Army partisan, survived and settled in the United States.

Seventy-five years on, Szmul Zygielbojm’s extraordinary story still remains relatively obscure, largely for ideological reasons.

It casts an uncomfortable shadow over the manner in which Britain’s military objectives were defined and prioritised. Civil servants dismissed his evidence as exaggerated. His calls for action were ignored by military and political leaders alike as the rescue of Jews undergoing genocide in Poland was not a war priority. Three million of Poland’s 3.3 million Jews were exterminated.

But what of the Jewish community? The movement which Zygielbojm represented, the Bund, was secular, socialist, internationalist and committed to Yiddish culture.

It demanded full equality for all minorities and urged Jews to strive for equal rights wherever they lived. It opposed all nationalism, especially territorial nationalism, and strongly rejected zionism.

In Zygielbojm’s last personal letter in April 1943 to his brother Fayvl, who had escaped from Poland before the war, he excoriated zionists for “exploiting the Jewish tragedy for their political ends”, paraphrasing their spokespersons: “Another 100,000 Jews murdered. Give more money for Palestine.”

Zionism had been a small minority opinion within overwhelmingly working-class Jewish communities everywhere before the second world war, finding more traction among middle-class Jews.

The Holocaust and the appalling aftermath, where survivors languished in displaced persons camps with no country wanting to take them, engendered understandable sympathy for those trying to get refugees to Palestine.

As zionist ideology became more popular among post-war Jewish communities whose class position was shifting, non-zionist and anti-zionist Jews were increasingly marginalised.

Zygielbojm’s story did not fit the post-war consensus established by Jewish communal “leaders” that emphasised the precariousness of diaspora and redemption and security through Israel.

By the 1960s, teachers in Jewish schools and youth leaders alike were elevating the role of zionist ghetto fighters and airbrushing out Bundists and communists. They drew a false line between ghetto resisters in 1943 and Israel’s independence fighters in 1948.

They forgot Zygielbojm and ignored his fellow Bundist Marek Edelman, second-in-command in the uprising, who survived and stayed in Poland, where he affirmed: “We fought for dignity and freedom, not for a territory nor for a national identity.”

Zygielbojm was cremated in London, though his ashes were later interred in a New York cemetery of the Workmen’s Circle, a Bundist-inspired friendly society. A Zygielbojm monument stands there.

Bundist refugees in Canada established a similar monument in a Montreal park. There is a striking tribute to Zygielbojm in Warsaw, along a route “of Jewish martyrdom and suffering” through the former ghetto area.

Here in London, in 1993, a small group of Bundist survivors joined forces with younger members of the Jewish Socialists Group to campaign for a plaque in London.

It was finally unveiled in 1996 by Polish Ambassador Ryszard Stemplowski and Zygielbojm’s daughter-in-law Adele, a survivor of nazi slave labour camps, who came from the United States with her sons for a ceremony attended by nearly 200 people.

At a reception after the unveiling, Zygielbojm’s grandson Arthur said: “People are still being exterminated today because of an accident of birth. Because they are identified with one ethnic group or another.

“His death is not resolved. His message is still unanswered. His cry is not silent.”

Arthur’s brother Paul affirmed that “Szmul Zygielbojm’s labour and sacrifice were not for the Jews alone… amid his anguished pleas for the salvation of a people, he wrote of his belief that a better world would come … a world of freedom, justice and peace.”

We can only speculate what Szmul Zygielbojm would have made of Poland today, where pluralistic and forward-looking Jewish communities are once again growing in 15 cities on Poland.

But they do so in an atmosphere in which all minorities are feeling increasingly threatened by menacing far-right movements who draw confidence and encouragement from a government dominated by the Law and Justice party that indulges in open anti-semitism and Holocaust revisionism, Islamophobia, anti-Roma and anti-refugee racism.

Our own government is directly linked with the Law and Justice party through the Conservative and Reformists group in the European Parliament.

We and our Polish sisters and brothers have work to do!

The Zygielbojm plaque is on the corner of Porchester Road and Porchester Square, Paddington opposite Porchester Hall/Paddington Library, London W2.

Zygielbojm plaque

October 2020
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