Poland: Man gets 10 months in prison for burning effigy of Jew

Poland’s courts appear committed to fighting hate speech and anti-Semitism.

Piotr Rybak was sentenced on Monday to 10 months in prison for burning an effigy of an Orthodox Jew during a far-right anti-migrant protest in Wroclaw, Poland, last November.

Judge Marek Gorny, in his sentencing, said Rybak fomented hatred and committed an act of great social harm.

“The harmfulness of this act was huge,” the judge said, accusing the man of provoking fear among Jews in Poland and elsewhere.

The court also denounced him for harming the country’s international image.

“For years we have been fighting against the stereotype of the anti-Semitic Pole,” Gorny said. “Meanwhile, the accused, with his act, sends the world a clear message about antipathy toward Jews.”

The Judge’s sentence was harsher than the 10 months of social work recommended by prosecutors. They argued that Rybak’s act evoked the burning of Jews during the Holocaust and should be taken as a threat of annihilation.

Rybak denounced the verdict and vowed to appeal.

“Its chutzpah [insolence in Yiddish] and an act against the Polish nation,” Rybak declared. “It’s a disgrace that a Polish judge issued a judgment against a Polish patriot.”

Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Poland’s chief rabbi, lauded the court’s ruling.

“The decision of the court in Wroclaw to convict a person who burned a Jew in effigy shows the commitment of Polish courts to justice and the fight against hate speech and anti-Semitism,” he stated.

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By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report