Polish Cops Question Suspect Involved in Shocking Antisemitic Easter Ritual in Rural Town
Polish police on Wednesday questioned a 45-year-old man in connection with last week’s shocking display in the rural town of Pruchnik, when adults led a group of young children in the destruction of an antisemitic effigy to mark the Easter holiday.
Local media outlets reported that officers of the Jarosław County police apprehended the suspect, who has not been named, in Pruchnik. After investigators established that the suspect was responsible for having set the effigy on fire at the end of the spectacle on Good Friday, he was released pending further inquiries, police spokeswoman Anna Długosz told journalists.
The arrest on Wednesday came shortly after the District Prosecutor’s Office in Jarosław initiated proceedings to discover and prosecute the perpetrators of last week’s so-called “Judas court.” Based on an eighteenth-century practice, the ritual featured a dehumanizing Jewish stereotype replete with wide-brimmed hat, large nose and sidelocks being kicked, beaten and eventually burned.
Video shot by bystanders last Friday showed the antisemitic effigy being cut down from a pole in the main square in Pruchnik and dragged to the front of the town’s church. The words “Judas 2019” and “Traitor” were scrawled in black ink on the effigy’s chest. At one point, the effigy received 30 lashes from a stick to symbolize the 30 pieces of silver supposedly paid to Judas, who according to the Christian Bible betrayed Jesus to Roman authorities.
Earlier on Wednesday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry broke a five-day silence on the antisemitic display in Pruchnik, which had already been strongly condemned by Jewish organizations in Poland and around the world.
“We regret the antisemitic incident in the village of Pruchnik during the festival of Easter, but are encouraged by the firm reaction by the Polish church, authorities and senior officials in Poland’s government,” the ministry said in a statement.