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Open letter from Polish-Jewish leaders concerning Rabbi Gurary's statement

0:00 h
13 Jun

June 13, 2014

We, members of Poland’s Jewish community, are disturbed and deeply concerned by the comments attributed to the incoming Chief Rabbi of Krakow, Eliezer Gurary, in an interview published by Israel National News in Hebrew and English on June 9th.

The interview quoted Gurary as saying, in response to a question about anti-Semitism in Poland:

"Let's say it clearly. Those who are not a Jew - do not like Jews [...] Everyone understands and knows it."

These words essentially painted all non-Jews as anti-Semites. By doing so they insulted the 38 million non-Jewish Poles in this country and potentially compromised the efforts of Jews. In fact, we live in a Poland where many non-Jews work hand in hand with Jews to help restore Jewish memory and re-build Jewish life. This comment not only discounts their contributions but paints them as our enemies.

Rabbi Gurary has issued a statement apologizing to those offended and claiming it was due to an error in translation however, persons who have heard tape of the interview, which was conducted in Hebrew, say that he did indeed make the comments as published.

If so, we do not understand how someone with these views can be given a position of leadership in Krakow’s Jewish community and represent it to the outside world. The appointment of Rabbi Gurary does not only cast a pall over Jewish Krakow but over the entire Jewish community of Poland.

Jakub Herczyński, Member, Oversight Committee of the Union of the Jewish Religious Congregations in Poland
Krzysztof Izdebski, President, Oversight Committee of the Jewish Religious Congregation in Warsaw
Piotr Nawrocki, Vice-President, Council of the Union of the Jewish Religious Congregations in Poland
Jonathan Ornstein, Executive Director, Jewish Community Centre of Krakow
Zofia Radzikowska, Vice-President, Association of Children of the Holocaust in Poland, Krakow branch