Fears as Far Right Gains Fresh Foothold in Poland

Duetsche Welle, December 25, 2011

In the past three decades in Poland, there have been more than 50 murders committed against victims whose ethnicity, religion or sexuality made them different.

Particularly brutal however, was one incident in August 1999 when three Warsaw skinheads trampled to death a 25-year-old student, Piotr Wozniak, on a Baltic Sea beach.

The reason for the attack was the victim’s appearance. Wozniak had dyed blond hair. This was not deemed manly enough by the attackers, who also disliked his alternative clothes.

This and other far-right motivated crimes carried out between 1987 and 2009 have been documented in the “Brown Book,” by the “Never Again” organization, which campaigns against intolerance and xenophobia.

“We are continuing to collect information about crimes like this,” says Never Again chairman Marcin Kornak. “Someone has to do it.”

Existing institutions–the ones that should be doing something about the problem–are not doing as much as they should, according to Kornak.

“Racist violence is a real phenomenon in Poland,” claims sociologist Rafal Pankowski, who has examined the topic extensively in his book “The Populist Radical Right in Poland: The Patriots.”

However, the victims are not only targeted for their ethnicity, religion or sexuality. Some have been targeted for political beliefs such as feminism, or even because they are homeless, says Pankowski.

‘Poland for the Polish’

In Poland there is no precise definition for the notion of a far right, some experts complain. Often, it is fairly difficult to distinguish between parties on the right of social and political discourse in the country, and those on the extreme right, says Pankowski. The sociologist points to the participation of lawmakers from the Law and Justice Party of the opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski in the latest “March of Independence” as indicative.

For years, the march has taken place on November 11, the Day of Polish Independence, organized by the National Radical Camp (ONR), a far-right party, and the All Polish Youth nationalist movement.

The pursuit of a “mono-ethnic society” is what unites the various right-wing extremist groups in Poland, Pankowski explains. Such ideas are propagated by members of groups like ONR, the All-Polish Youth, and the National Rebirth of Poland (NOP)–all of which have their foundations in the national radicalism movement of Poland in the 1920s and 1930s.

Members from many backgrounds

The activists who are members of these groups are mainly young people. But they are not just the kind of young people who lack any perspective for the future–many are from wealthy backgrounds. “The members include the unemployed as well as students. One also finds there are militant football fans, and skinheads,” adds Pankowski.

There are no exact figures on how many members these groups have, although information is available on the internet as to their popularity. On Facebook for example, the NOP has several thousand sympathizers.

“The extreme right has clearly gained importance in recent years,” says Pankowski. Alongside movements such as the NOP and ONR, with their pre-war history, there are an increasing number of groups with ideologies directly related to that of Nazism. These are mostly the Polish offshoots of foreign far-right groups such as the British “Combat 18” or “Blood and Honor.”

Connections to German neo-Nazi organizations are not so strong, says Pankowski, with links to Italian and British groups seemingly more important. The Polish manifestations of Combat 18 or Blood and Honor are mostly active only in an underground capacity, says Kornak. “The biggest danger comes from parties such as the ONR,” he explains, where the party is officially licensed and has an open membership.

Forbidden, but not pursued

In recent years, a so-called “death list” was published on the internet site of one neo-Nazi group, with photos and addresses of alleged “enemies of the white race.”

Included on the list were left-wing, anti-fascist and feminist activists. In spite of this very public incitement to violence, only a few people were ever sentenced to prison. The website was blocked, at least temporarily.

“This incident shows just how much the Polish judicial system is stalling. Neo-fascist groupings are difficult to control,” says Pankowski. In fact, though, the activities of nationalist and fascist groups are prohibited by the constitution. The problem is putting the law into practice, claims the sociologist. The law has only ever been used on one occasion, when an ONR center was closed in 2009 for the distribution of fascist material.

A concern for the state

Extreme right parties such as the ONR or the NOP are not mass organizations with widespread public support, explains Pankowski. “In spite of this, they should not be underestimated, because in recent years they have developed in a very dynamic way,” said.

Apart from this, there is increasing aggression and violence at events such as football matches or at rock concerts.

However, some feel the far right is no real threat to the political order as a whole. Among them is Jan Zaryn, a historian from the Institute of National Remembrance. “There are no parties in Poland that would include terrorism as a form of struggle,” said Zaryn.

In addition, he points out, no radical right-wing party has, so far, gained a seat in parliament.

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  • Anonymous

    In the words of the Polish national anthem, Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła – “Poland is not yet lost!”

  • Question Diversity

    In the past three decades in Poland, there have been more than 50 murders committed against victims whose ethnicity, religion or sexuality made them different…

    Fifty such murders in thirty years: That averages to one about every seven months. That’s a real wave of hate and violence, isn’t it? I wish St. Louis would have only one murder every seven months.

  • anonymous

    why is it that some people wanting a mono-ethnic society are less important than those who want a ‘diverse’ society?

    why is the diverse desire more important?

    It has never worked in the past and certainly doesn’t seem to be now, perhaps the diversity seekers have the less valued opinion.

  • Mike H.

    Over 95% white and their nationalist movement is bigger than America’s.

    I’m rather ashamed of my own country at the moment.

  • Anonymous

    Communism’s repression is still a factor in Poland and is remembered vividly. Certain “groups” who supported and ran communism in Poland have much to lose–political power.

  • Anonymous

    “no radical right-wing party has, so far, gained a seat in parliament”.

    No choosing sides there!

    Perhaps this is a big deal in Poland but in the USA it’s a far bigger deal and much more common for there to be hatred of conservatives. There’s hardly a TV show that doesn’t mock them. As for political violence, who knows but I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes on much more often than the reverse.

  • Mike Harrigan

    **In the past three decades in Poland, there have been more than 50 murders committed against victims whose ethnicity, religion or sexuality made them different.**

    WOW! An epidemic. That comes to more than ONE, but less than TWO victims every year on average. I am not familiar with Poland’s racial makeup, but if they are like their European brethren, they must be filling up with non Whites to prove how non racist they are. I wonder how the crime stats against the native Whites by these joys of diversity stack up against the “more than 50” newbies that have been murdered in the last 30 years?

  • John Engelman

    Claiming that those who favor more restrictions on immigration, especially third world immigration are on the “far right” is a way of dehumanizing them. The great majority are in favor of neither fascism nor laissez faire capitalism.

    Instead, they agree with the liberal columnist, economics professor, and nobel laureate Paul Krugman, who wrote: “open immigration can’t coexist with a strong social safety net; if you’re going to assure health care and a decent income to everyone, you can’t make that offer global.”

    http://goo.gl/va5yM

  • Chicagoan

    There’s been fifty such killings in thirty years in the entire country, the killed being people deemed to be worthier victims than others? There’s hundreds of murders each year just in this city alone. The point is that some victims are more important than others, in the view of these critics. No one else counts. I guess.

  • Deirdre

    These groups form because of the totally unfair treatment of white people indigenous to their nations all across Europe and the US. So I don’t blame the Poles at all. The media can keep on and on about “racism” etc. but that word no longer has the effect it did when it was new.

  • America First

    I really get a kick out of the (il)logical characterization at the start of the article, where, 12 and a half years ago, three sociopaths beat to death some guy because of his perceived lifestyle, as a “far-right motivated crime.” Then, the article lumps 50 murders over 30 years years as evidence of a rise in neo-Nazi activity. It appears as though the author or authors have a thesis they wish to support, and they root about, trying to find the supporting proof. If they want proof of true xenophobic violence, why not look at the race war in America over the last 50 years, where there is DOCUMENTED millions of acts of violence, including tens of thousands of murders and hundreds of thousands of rapes committed by blacks against whites.

  • Anonymous

    The best way to avoid “racism” in Poland would be to keep the country as Polish, white and Christian as possible.

  • Anonymous

    A monoethnic society is a sound approach to harmony and prosperity.

  • Anonymous

    They’ve brought this on themselves due to their typical European love of diversity at the expense of the ethnic population. Same in France, Italy, Russia and hopefully the UK.

    Understand, I consider the attack on Piotr Wozniak an abomination and those who perpetrated it should get the maximum punishment. However when a group of people start to feel as though they’re being marginalized, you are always going to have the extremists who carry everything too far and who bring opprobrium down on groups with legitimate issues.

    We’re going to experience the same thing on a grand scale in the US if we don’t stop treating the people who made this country what it once was, as though they were unimportant garbage who are murdered and raped on a daily basis while our government turns a blind eye. Our religious beliefs, our traditions, our very freedom of speech is being stifled and our safety compromised in order to advance certain parasitic segments of the society who’ve contributed nothing but destruction and mayhem.

    Niech żyje Polska.

  • Jim

    Poles are great. They saved Europe once, and they may do it again.

  • Anonymous

    “The pursuit of a “mono-ethnic society” is what unites the various right-wing extremist groups in Poland, Pankowski explains. Such ideas are propagated by members of groups like ONR, the All-Polish Youth, and the National Rebirth of Poland (NOP)—all of which have their foundations in the national radicalism movement of Poland in the 1920s and 1930s.”

    Imagine that, Polish people actually expecting to live peacefully in their own country. Can’t have that.

  • Anonymous

    “In addition, he points out, no radical right-wing party has, so far, gained a seat in parliament.”

    All that means to me is that Poland’s Parliament might find itself with no audience soon.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, radical right nationalism seems to be the only thing left to anyone who wants to see their white ethnic group survive, even in it’s own native land. Everyone else seems dead set on moving in Islam and Africa, with Chinese management.

  • R CROSS

    If it is “poland for the polish”why have millions of them come to live in my country,defraud our social funds,force the indigenous workers out of work by destroying our wage structure and colonised various parts of our cities,turning them into replicas of the land they all deem so dear,it is not so much a statement of harmony as a direct challenge to the indigenous populations ownership of his own territory,in much the same way that muslims are encroaching upon it.

  • Luke

    Uh, oh. Barbara Lerner Spectre isn’t going to be liking this piece of news…….

    But, then…..Barbara Lerner Spectre has a nation where she is free to go which insists on its right to be ‘mono-ethnic’.

  • Lost in Paradise

    OK, let me get this straight. Murder during the Knockout Game is ignorable, but when right wingers do it, it must be stopped. Makes me lose faith in Western Civilization.

  • Jeddermann.

    “‘Poland for the Polish’”

    I know this iss hard for some to understand, but this is what the nation-state system is all about.

    The boundaries and movements of people at the end of WW2 was to make sure a mixing of peoples did not occur, homogeneity of a society was a primary concern.

    Poland since WW2 has been the ONCE PLACE IN THE WORLD THAT HAS THE MOST HOMOGENEOUS SOCIETY!! Language, religion, race. And good for it too.

    NOW with entry into the EU this is all changing and for the worse too.

    YES, strangely enough some Poles want Poland to be for the Poles.

  • Blaak Obongo

    “In the past three decades in Poland, there have been more than 50 murders committed against victims whose ethnicity, religion or sexuality made them different.”

    That may or may not be true, but in either case, so what? This statement has no connection to the story that follows. Oh, but it sets the tone for the propaganda piece–er, “article”–doesn’t it?

    And yet we end with:

    “In addition, he points out, no radical right-wing party has, so far, gained a seat in parliament.”

    So let’s sum up this screed: the “radical far right”–which leftists are free to define in any way they choose–has no political power, but it’s still a horrible, terrifying, shocking threat to Life On Earth As We Know It. And of course, there’s no such thing as a far left.

    Boiled down to actual factual material, this “article” is left with exactly nothing at all beyond “Anybody who opposes the multiculti New World Order should scare the pants off of you. Because we say so.”

    So how come I’m not scared? Go, Poles!

  • Mr.White

    Anyone who believes Poland should be for Poles is vilified as the “radical right-wing party.” Another example of how insane and corrupted the radical left-wing, open border lunatics truly are.

  • Anonymous

    I take a middle ground: a wise course of action is to treat existing minorities that reside within your borders with fairness (no special treatment), encourage their assimilation within a democratic framework (no multicultural curriculum, etc.) and discourage (immigration) policies that lead to a growth of un-assimilated minority populations.

  • Huha

    It’s a sad fact that the politically correct can not/will not accept the fact that the “locals” want life to stay the same as it was for the past 40 years, Communism not withstanding. They just want a home for their own people, their ancestors just happen to predate the immigrants by about 2,000 years.

  • jack in Chicago

    19 — R CROSS wrote at 5:19 AM on December 27:

    “If it is “poland for the polish”why have millions of them come to live in my country,defraud our social funds,force the indigenous workers out of work by destroying our wage structure and colonized various parts of our cities,turning them into replicas of the land they all deem so dear,it is not so much a statement of harmony as a direct challenge to the indigenous populations ownership of his own territory,in much the same way that muslims are encroaching upon it.”

    Jack in Chicago responds;

    I’m an Anglo American, mostly British/English Anglo Saxon American – WASP. But, I’m sorry, I have absolutely no sympathy for White English people complaining about White Polish immigrants to England. Healthy groups of Whites have historically gone off and explored other countries, gone to work in other countries. White British, White English used to do what White Poles are doing now. Somehow I doubt any Polish city is going to look or smell like London/Londonstan soon.

    White Poles, White Slavs suffered terribly under communism, during World War II and afterwards in Communism again. White British/White English people suffered self inflicted, national suicide in the 1960s, 1990s.

    Would someone tell me White English/British patriots have allowed that pro Muslim senile Queen to hang on so long?

  • NeoconsNailed

    There’s no real news in this article. In fact, it’s not an article, merely a big long pout about things eternally of concern to parlor pinks, clearly aimed at attitude-engineering the public, not informing them. “Now listen,” say the babysitters, “these attitudes and groups are doubleplusungood. Tolerance is the default position. You like Big Brother… You like Big Brother… You like Big Brother…”

  • mike

    I’m sure it was just white kids playing the knockout game. Maybe if we gave them money it would help.

  • Netzach

    #10,

    “These groups form because of the totally unfair treatment of white people indigenous to their nations all across Europe and the US. So I don’t blame the Poles at all. The media can keep on and on about “racism” etc. but that word no longer has the effect it did when it was new.”

    They mostly form because some people just like abusing alcohol, sticking up a finger at a civil society, and beating up others based on some ridiculous excuses. Some ethnic groups contain more of such wastrels than others, but there are some in all of them. Demonizing skinheads isn’t a good idea, but romanticizing them (let alone downright Neo-Nazis) is even worse. Most of them are just low-IQ thugs with impulse control deficit. If they directed their animosity at minority gangs, I’d have certain sympathy at them, but most of the time they prefer to attack the decent individuals, who don’t carry knives and hang out with violent “brothers”. Pox on them.

    Of course, there are exceptions. For the reasons you point out, this particular form of extremism can have some appeal even to decent and smart people – especially young men. Much could be achieved if such people can be detached from their thuggish friends, or helped to impose disciplined control on them.

  • mark

    #19 R CROSS

    What indigenous population are you referring to? Somehow i don’t think you are talking about the American Indians but the White Europeans that settled North America few centuries ago.

    Let me remind you that Poles also fought for this land of ours. Do the names Gen. Kosciuszko and Gen. Pulawski, just to name the most famous ones, ring the bell? Kosciuszko, a friend of Thomas Jefferson, designed the West Point and Pulawski, by many considered the father of the American Cavalry, was killed while defending Savannah, Georgia from the British.

    There are many more examples throughout the years. I suggest that you go through some history books. Make sure to include the WWII. Poles bravely fought on the side of the Allies only to be betrayed and sold to Stalin at the end of the war.

    You may also look back at the year 1683, September 11th to be exact, when the Polish Army saved Europe by defeating the Ottoman Empire, yes, the muslims.

    It seems to me that Poles have earned the right to be the part of the American Dream. They paid for that right with blood.

  • Anonymous

    Remember that the Trade Union Solidarity was born in December, in the Gdansk Shipyards. Solidarity stood up to Communism and Martial Law in Poland, and to the threat of a Soviet invasion of Poland, as well.

    Of course, there was a Polish Pope in Rome, who had warned the USSR that he would return to his native Poland to fight alongside his fellow Patriots, against their invasion. The Kremlin was foiled.

    It seems again that the Eastern European States will lead us out of this Multicultural Darkness. Watch the video “The Gates of Vienna” on You Tube, to view what they have done in the past.

  • Anonymous

    19 — R CROSS wrote at 5:19 AM on December 27:

    “If it is “poland for the polish”why have millions of them come to live in my country,defraud our social funds,force the indigenous workers out of work by destroying our wage structure and colonised various parts of our cities,turning them into replicas of the land they all deem so dear,it is not so much a statement of harmony as a direct challenge to the indigenous populations ownership of his own territory,in much the same way that muslims are encroaching upon it.”

    R CROSS,

    You’ve got me on that one. I don’t understand it unless the new emigres are driving them out of Poland but if I were a refugee, I would certainly be grateful to the country who accepted me and not become like the very people from whom I fled back in Poland. Are these people ethnic Poles or people who hold Polish passports working their destructive way across Europe?

    Anonymous 14

  • thoughtcrime

    The reason these groups even exist is because of the mass immigration of non-Whites into Poland and the chaos that these creatures cause in ANY White society that they enter.

    Seriously…70 murders in 50 years…cry me a river! PLEASE!

    Consider how many thousands of Poles are robbed, raped and murdered each year by non-White immigrants who are plaguing Polish society.

    This is the same situation in ALL White countries who have been foolish enough to allow themselves to be convinced that opening their borders will “improve” their society. How sad.

  • BannerRWB

    25-Anon: “I take a middle ground: a wise course of action…”

    – I would say your ideas are neither a middle ground nor a wise course of action. Just because you say or think so doesn’t make it so. Actually, I find all of your points to be contrary to achieving a more perfect society. The treatment of minorities within our borders would not be much of an issue due to their limited numbers and short duration of time they would spend within our nation. We could treat them fairly, right up to the time we are putting them on the bus or plane headed home. No need to encourage assimilation, more importantly, I wouldn’t want immigrants to assimilate at all unless they were White. I do agree that we will have no multiculturalism. As for discouraging immigration, that in itself is the end point of the sentence. No need to carry it any further, as otherwise, we will always end up with un-assimilated populations.

  • Will

    That is not really a big deal. 30 years? How many inocent White people have been killed by Blacks in the U.S.A.? How many Farmers have been Killed in South Africa by Blacks in 30 years. Is it even mentioned on the News, of the daily “Hate Crimes” against White People by Muslims all over Europe? Why don’t somebody write an article about that?

  • Western Man

    I have often seen young Poles in London, working the hotels and transportation hubs (although Iunderstand the improvement in the Polish economy has led some of them to return home). I for one think (regretfully) that they would, once integrated, make better Brits than many of the original stock (last summer’s Hooligan riots were by no means just a third-worlder affair). The great, law-abiding,

    stiff-upper-lip British nation familiar to us from movies and the Battle of Britain, is no more. And then there is the reverse colonization of the UK by non-Whites, many of whom have been attracted by the post-WWII welfare state.

    Meanwhile, back in post-communism Eastern Europe,Poland and a few other countries are making great strides economically.

    I hope they will not allow the Brusselocracy to spread the ‘blessings’ of a post-White, post-Christian West to their country.

    Before WWII, of course, the major non-Polish population segment residing in Poland were Jews, who comprised about 10% of the population. It is

    an interesting and little-appreciated fact that the military of the inter-war, right-wing independent Polish state, cooperated closely with the right-wing Jewish group Betar, and helped train its fighters (the anti-British so-called Irgun). And why not?

    This group opposed communism, and supported breaking the British blockade on Palestine, in order to bring as many of their people out of Eastern Europe as possible and found Israel. Poland had no empire, and thus no sentimentalist, Rudyard Kipling type ‘nation building’ aspirations. These aspirations, while in keeping with the West’s universalist philosophical traditions, are directly responsible for the mess that Europe, North America and Down Under now find themselves in — a mess that countries like Poland can help us see our way out of.

  • Sylvie

    Coming from Australia, I think R Cross didn’t mean Poles, he meant New Zealanders!