21:07 GMT26 July 2021
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    A Polish official explained that the Sejm is not responsible for the selection of articles sold at a local kiosk and said that that the parliament would request the removal of "anti-Semitic" publications.

    A periodical detailing instructions on "how to recognise a Jew" is being sold at a newsagent's shop in the Polish Sejm, causing angry backlash among lawmakers.

    The controversial edition was published by the weekly Tylko Polska (Only Poland) and is being sold across the country. According to a photo of the front page, published by MP Michal Kaminski, it also contains tips on "names, anthropological features, expressions, appearances, character traits, methods of action, disinformation activities."

    "How to defeat them?" reads the front page. "This cannot go on!"

    It features another title, "Attack on Poland in Paris", apparently referring to a conference on Holocaust research held in Paris last month, which Polish activists complained saw "xenophobic" and "anti-Semitic" speakers.

    The newspaper also features a photo of Jan Gross, a Polish-American Holocaust historian focusing on Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War. In particular, he suggested that Polish villagers were complicit in the massacre of Jews in the town of Jedwabne in 1941.

    He was awarded to Orders of Merit for his scholar work, with the second one bestowed on the 60th anniversary of the Jedwabne tragedy in 2001. Poland's new president Andrzej Duda, however, requested a review of this honour in 2016, accusing Gross of an attempt on "Poland's good name". This move sparked protests in Poland's academia, and Gross retained his award.

    Michal Kaminski brought this edition to a press conference at the Sejm on Wednesday, urging parliament speaker Marek Kuchcinski to explain "how it is possible" that such publications are being distributed in the parliament.

    Kaminski said the fact that it is being sold to Polish MPs is an "absolute scandal", comparing its contents to those of Nazi newspapers.

    According to Kaminski, there should be no place in any European parliament for a letter which has what he described as "anti-Semitic nature".

    Following the outcry, head of the Sejm Information Centre Andrzej Grzegrzolka clarified that press distribution company RUCH S.A., which runs the kiosk, selects the titles sold there, and the parliament has nothing to do with it.

    He added that the Chancellery of Sejm, which manages the parliament buildings, would request the removal of the periodical in question and would check the whole list of titles available at the newsagent's.

    Poland's legacy of Anti-Semitism came under increased scrutiny under Andrzej Duda, who took over the helm of the country in 2015. The Polish government does not deny that the mass killing of Jews took place during World War II, but disputes the level of complicity that Polish citizens had in the Holocaust.

    READ MORE: Polish PM Cancels Trip to Israel Over Netanyahu's Holocaust Remark — Reports

    Warsaw acknowledges that individual Poles did collaborate with the Nazis against their Jewish neighbours, but insists that assigning blame to the whole country is unwarranted.

    Last year, Duda signed a controversial bill that outlawed blaming Poland for participation in crimes committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, threatening jail terms of up to three years for violators. Specifically, the legislation prohibited the use of the expression "Polish death camps".

    Israel's Foreign Ministry noted that it was "deeply disappointed" with the bill and condemned it as an "attempt to challenge historical truth". The outcry prompted the government to water it down, removing jail sentences for breaches.


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