Former Priest in Poland Charged With Incitement Against Jews During Polish Independence Day March

Jacek Midlar is being charged for publicly calling for hatred against Jews during a speech he made at a right-wing march last year

File photo: A Polish Independence Day march
Wiktor Baron / Wikimedia Commons

The prosecutor’s office in the western Poland city of Wroclaw issued an indictment against former priest Jacek Midlar for “public incitement to hatred based on religious and national differences.”

He could face up to 2 years in prison.

On November 11, 2016, during Polish Independence Day, Wroclaw hosted the “March of Patriots.” According to the prosecutor’s office, Midlar in his speech to the march, “under the guise of promoting patriotic attitudes,” publicly called for hatred against Jews and Ukrainians.

“He used expressions intended to inspire others to feelings of contempt, strong dislike, anger, disapproval and hostility toward them, imputing them hostility toward Polish people and transgressive intentions and encouraging the participants of the march to fight against them,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Midlar did not plead guilty. In his statement he stated that he defended the good name of Poles, whom he said the Jews call “worms.”

“We must be strong in spirit, body, in our mentality and knowledge, because only we will be able to win with the left, with Jewry, and with communism, which is still in our homeland,” said Midlar during the march. “Only we will win the fight against evil!” He also shouted: “Poland for Poles. Poles for Poland.”

In April 2016, Miedlar in a sermon referred to Jews as a “cancer which swept Poland.” The Prosecutor’s Office in Bialystok later found that no hate crime had been committed. He has twice this year been banned from entering the United Kingdom to take part in anti-immigrant marches.