WARSAW - The news of the scheduled release this month of a new book about the theft by Poles of Jewish property during and after the Holocaust has sparked a protest campaign heavily laced with anti-Semitism in this country. "Golden Harvest" was written by the Jewish, Polish-born American historian Jan Gross. Previous books by the author, including his account of a massacre of the Jewish population of Jedwabne, Poland by their non-Jewish neighbors and studies of Polish anti-Semitism in the immediate aftermath of World War II, have also caused fierce public debate in Poland.
The book's local publisher, ZNAK, is being targeted in what has been described as an "email bombing campaign," and has received hundreds of emails daily since the campaign began early in January. According to the publisher, most of them are anti-Semitic and use nearly identical language. They claim that by publishing the book ZNAK, which is associated with Poland's Catholic intelligentsia, is defaming the Polish people and spreading lies.
"These claims are being made by people who haven't read the book and have no idea of its content," ZNAK's editor-in-chief, Jerzy Illg, told Haaretz. "We don't know who is behind the campaign, but one thing is certain, this anonymous organization will not influence our decision to print and distribute the book. We have sent our editors' comments to the author and we are awaiting his reply."
Meanwhile, 1,500 people have signed a petition in support of the book's publication that is part of a counter-campaign.
Gross is scheduled to travel to Poland for a book tour to promote sales.
The last two books published by ZNAK were biographies of Pope John Paul II and of Pope Benedict XVI.
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