An estimated 1,000 people attended the February 9 meeting at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was convened by Catholic broadcaster Radio Maryja and the Committee Against Defamation of the Church and For Polishness, Polish and Israeli media reported.
The meeting was publicized with posters that reportedly declared, "The Kikes will not continue to spit on us!" and allegedly featured anti-Semitic speeches. "We were deeply disturbed by reports that an anti-Semitic meeting was held in a Krakow church," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, a Holocaust survivor who was born in Poland in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife in Budapest.
"Such sentiments are a troubling reminder that anti-Semitism is alive and well in Poland, and that the memory and lessons of the Holocaust, while still fresh for survivors of the war, is fading for ordinary Poles."
At the Krakow meeting, Professor Bogoslav Wolniewicz was quoted as saying that "The Jews are attacking” Poland. "We need to defend ourselves,!" he was overheard saying. Radio Maryja, one of the meeting's organizers, is a right-wing Polish Catholic station that has a history of anti-Semitic broadcasts, said ADL, an influential advocacy group monitoring anti-Semitic incidents around the world.
In a letter to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, ADL said the local archdiocese and the Polish Bishops conference should speak out. "One of the great lessons the world learned from Pope John Paul II is that ignorance and bias are never remedied unless all of us are willing to challenge them at every turn," wrote Foxman.
"We ask Your Eminence and the Polish Bishops Conference to publicly denounce these words and this group in the strongest terms, and to take steps to ensure such gatherings never again take place in the holy space of a church."
The gathering came amid international concerns about growing far-right groups in Poland and other former Soviet satellite states that recently joined the European Union, such as Hungary and Slovakia. (BosNewsLife Senior Special Correspondent Eric Leijenaar contributed to this story).