Polish Ambassador's Jewish History Turns Him Into Target for Far Right

Ryszard Schnepf says that he and his family have been slandered by a radical news magazine with claims his father was a Soviet spy.

Poland's ambassador to the United States, Ryszard Schnepf during an interview.
Poland's ambassador to the United States, Ryszard Schnepf during an interview.Credit: YouTube

Poland’s ambassador to the United States said he and his family were the targets of a “campaign of harassment, slander and lies” launched by the far-right media over his Jewish origins.

Ryszard Schnepf, in a Facebook post published Saturday, said the campaign started with an article written in the Gazeta Polska, a right-wing Polish language weekly news magazine. The article noted that Schnepf’s father was Jewish and helped Soviet intelligence in the 1950s while working for the Polish Embassy in the United States.

Schnepf related in the post that he was stopped by the police and beaten in March 1968 amid the campaign in Poland to force out as many as 20,000 Jews. It also recalled that Schnepf was arrested in March 1980 at a University of Warsaw lecture on charges of spreading anti-government propaganda. During the interrogation, he was told “his place is in Israel.”

“Today, the authors of the campaign refer to those patterns,” Schnepf wrote on Facebook. “No, I’m not afraid for myself. I learned to live on the edge. I’m afraid, however, for my children, that someone could also say to them ‘get out!'”

Schnepf’s non-Jewish mother, Alicja, and her mother hid Jews in Warsaw during World War II. She was recognized as a Righteous Among The Nations by the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem in 1991 and is an honorary citizen of Israel.

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