On 3 July a new law on the Supreme Court and the political subordination of Polish courts, introduced by the ruling Law and Order (PiS) party, will come into force. Many of the current Supreme Court judges will be replaced by nominees appointed by the National Judiciary Council, which is controlled by Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro. The European Commission must react!
120 non-governmental organizations and civil movements, including the Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia, the Open Republic, have appealed to Jean-Claud Juncker, the chairman of the European Commission, to refer the law on the Supreme Court to the European Court of Justice. Non-governmental organizations call on the European Commission to take action to help stop the destruction of democracy in Poland. On the basis of the unconstitutional law on the Supreme Court, “nearly 40 percent of the Supreme Court judges may be forced into untimely retirement. They will be replaced by the nominees chosen by the politicized National Judiciary Council of Judiciary. This will be the last act of the take-over of the courts by the ruling party “- write the signatories of the appeal.
Poland is a full member of the European Union and we demand urgent action from the European Commission. We call on the Commission to immediately refer the law on the Polsh Supreme Court to the European Court of Justice, together with the motion to stop the implementation of the Act.
We encourage you to sign an appeal to the European Commission to refer this law to the CJEU. This can be done through the site naszademokracja.pl
Support for the letter addressed to the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki calling for the stability and continuity of the Council being maintained through the re-appointment of its current Chairperson, Barbara Engleking. The leeter has been signed by prof. Andrzej Rychard, Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and by prof. Józef Niżnik, Chairman of the Institute’s Scientific Counci
You can sign the petition here
Australian The Age newspaper publishes Arnold Zable’s article „Edelman’s spirit challenges the rising nationalist right in Europe” in which Open Republic’s Paula Sawicka talks about Edelman’s ideals, about the growth of hatred in Poland and about the recent independent celebrations of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Anniversary.
„Edelman would have been deeply disturbed by the recent shift to the right in his native Poland, and the rise of authoritarian leaders such as Viktor Orban in Hungary and Czech President Milos Zeman” – writes Zable, adding that in his opinion Edelman “would have been appalled by Zeman’s anti-Romany racism, and would have supported the Roma community’s insistence that the Czech Republic is also their homeland”.
“The Age” quotes Paula Sawicka: “anti-Semitic, racist, discriminatory and hateful facts are present in our public life. They grew because there was too little or any reaction of public opinion. Public figures and perpetrators regarded this as consent, permission. Fifteen years ago, Marek Edelman warned us that even the smallest evil can grow. The first answer should always be to protest and to not remain indifferent.”
“Edelman – continues Zable – defended the victims of other genocides, and persecuted minorities. I think that always, whoever the victim oppressed is, one must be on his or her side, he said.”
Paula Sawicka also reminds us about another important part of Edelman’s legacy, one that should be interpreted as a call to self-improvement and a rejection of the impulse to meet hatred with hatred. „We must teach at schools, preschools and universities that hatred is evil – Edelman said. “To hate is easy, love requires effort and sacrifice”.
Article in The Age
“Does this bread taste the same as it would taste as if a Pole had baked it?” asks Salam Salti. He is wearing a white apron and a baker’s cap with his name on it. Salti is participating in a new Polish campaign called Nasz Chleb Powszedni, or “Our Daily Bread,” which aims to inspire tolerance and understanding in Poland by having people from five marginalized groups — gays, Jews, Muslims, refugees and black people — bake and sell bread to customers at the Putka Bakery in Warsaw. The experience is encapsulated in a three-minute video released on YouTube. The next part of the campaign includes selling bread baked by minorities in various cities around the country.
The campaign is headed by two women, Anna Bińczyk and Magdalena Korzyńska. “We were looking for something that would connect people instead of dividing them,” says Bińczyk.
The video jumps between shots of the participants preparing, kneading and dusting bread among snippets from events in Poland containing nationalist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-Muslim messages. Although Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak claims that xenophobia is a rare occurrence, the numbers tell a different story. read more…
The Coalition for Equal Opportunities, an informal alliance of over sixty organizations in the field of human rights protection and counteracting discrimination, has issued a common position in which it sympathizes with people with disabilities and their families who have been protesting in the Parliament (Sejm) building for the last month. Supporting the postulates of protesters, the coalition also calls on the Polish authorities to urgently address the systemic violations of human rights of this social group. Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia, The Open Republic is one of the member organizations of the Coalition.
Young people in Konin areorganising a March of Tolerance on May 18. The march is intended as a response to hate attacks against two Konin secondary schools (II and III Liceum Ogólnokształcące). At the end of April, a Facebook group “Poland for Poles” carried out an attack on the fan page of the Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński Liceum in Konin, after it has shared the Open Republic, “Our Daily Bread” film. As a result of these attacks, the video was removed from the school’s fan page.
Similar problems were experienced by another Konin secondary school - the Cyprian Kamil Norwid Liceum. Its students prepared an art competition to mark the International Day against Homophobia, Transfobia and Biphobia, on 17 May. On April 27, protest emails and phone call from the All-Polish Youth grouping to the school management have begun. Threats and vulgarisms were addressed to the organisers, teachers and even to their families on the internet. families. Under such pressure, the school withdrew its iniative.
The March of Tolerance in Konin will set off on May 18 at 6 P.M. It will follow a symbolic route: from the Solidarity Roundabout (Rondo Solidarności) to the Freedom Square (Plac Wolności).
It is intended as a protest against hatred that was directed against two schools, but also as a manifestation of respect towards all minorities in Poland. The organizers invite the minorities’ representatives to participate in the march. – We want to show that we will not be manipulated by the “All-Polish Youth” and that we are not afraid of them – says one of the organizers, Mikołaj Marcinkowski.
The secretary of the Board of the Open Republic, Damian Wutke, addressed a letter of support to the organizers and participants of the March of Tolerance on behalf of the Association.
“Gazeta Wyborcza” newspaper has uncovered the justification of the decision by the Prosecutor’s Office, which in February 2017 had closed the case against the publisher of a book by Leon Degrelle. In September 2016, “Wyborcza” reported that the book by a Belgian SS member, Leon Degrelle - “Hitler’s Century” – was available in the largest Polish bookstores. It was published by a little-known Gdańsk-based publishing house “Finna” run by Andrzej Ryba, a history graduate from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. In his foreword, Ryba stated that Degrelle’s work was anti-Semitic, anti-Slavic and anti-Polish, adding controversially that: “The book is a great proof that there is no such thing as an objective, or the only right history.”
In January 2017, the Open Republic submitted to the Prosecutor General a motion for prosecution in which we indicated that the book was still being sold online. In June 2017, the District Prosecutor’s Office of Kraków – Krowodrza opened an investigation of the offense (specified in art. 256 § 1 of the Criminal Code), which was then discontinued in August 2017 without any explanation.
After the fall of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, The Butcher of Warsaw Ghetto, Juergen Stroop, who had led its suppression, had personally presided over the blowing up of the Great Synagogue, declaring that it will symbolise the “victory over the Jewry”. He was wrong.
On the anniversary of the Synagogue’s destruction on the 16th of May, we would like to remind you about our project, “The Great Synagogue Restores Memory”, which had virtually recreated the Great Synagogue on the the very spot where it once stood, this proving that the remembrance can conquer death and destruction.
A scientific conference devoted to Karl Marx, taking place on 11 May in the seaside Polish town of Pobierowo, become notable for an unusual reason – an appearance of the police. The officers justified their presence by the need to make sure that the event was not “anti-national” in character – as defined by law constituting the IPN (Institute of National Remembrance), or did not aim to propagate a totalitarian ideology in contravention of the Polish constitution.
This form of a police intervention must rise serious doubts and outrage, taking into account that no such actions take place with regards to nationalistic and semi-fascist groupings. It is noteworthy that the ONR marches (ONR – The National Radical Camp – a Polish extreme right, anti-communist, and nationalist political party – Wikipedia;) take place under police protection, have never been banned and the police often states that their [semi-facist and facist] symbols and slogans do not break the law. The same goes for the recent ONR conferences: in the Gdańsk Shipyard , (where the Solidarity movement was born in the 80’s) and in the headquarters of the Polish Journalist’s Association in Warsaw. In both these cases a police intervention would have been completely justified – but none took place.
A banner displayed by a group of radical supporters of the club, during a match in May 2016 had a number of “addressees”. It mentioned an opposition movement, one of the opposition parties, the “Gazeta Wyborcza” opposition newspaper, a pair of outspoken independent journalists (Tomasz Lis and Monika Olejnik) as well as “other prostitutes”. “There will be no boos for you, only gallows” – threatened the banner.
The prosecutor’s office discontinued the investigation, accepting in good faith the football fans’ claim that they did not know the content of the banner displayed during the Legia Warsaw match with Piast Gliwice. The Open Republic Association has joined the opposition party (Nowoczesna) and the opposition movement (KOD) in reporting to the prosecutor’s office the criminal threats contained in the banner. However, the District Prosecutor has closed the case and has done so twice:
First, in June 2016 the prosecutor’s office refused to open an investigation, as the banner expressed in their opinion “albeit in a rather vulgar way – nothing more than political views”. Following an appeal, a court revoked the prosecutor’s office decision. The investigation was re-opened in December, only to close after three months – due to a “lack of sufficient evidence to justify the suspicion of an illegal act having been committed “.