Polish Police Release Video of Man Hurling Rock into Gdansk Synagogue on Yom Kippur
Police in the Polish port city of Gdansk are seeking the arrest of a man who was caught on video on Wednesday hurling a rock into the city’s New Synagogue during Yom Kippur services.
The attack took place just before 6pm, as the congregation gathered for Neilah, the service that concludes the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Female worshipers and several children sitting in the women’s section of the synagogue were showered with broken glass, though no one was hurt.
CCTV video of the incident showed a white man in his twenties striding towards the synagogue brandishing a rock in his left hand. After throwing the rock, the man is seen walking away calmly.
Karina Kamińska, a spokesperson for the Gdansk police, said that officers were investigating the incident in order to determine whether it was a religiously-motivated hate crime or a “hooligan prank.”
Watch: rock thrown through window of Polish synagogue on Yom Kippur
The Mayor of Gdansk, Paweł Adamowicz, immediately condemned the attack on the synagogue. Stressing that he expected the quick apprehension of the assailant, Adamowicz offered his “apologies to the Jewish community of Gdansk.”
“In a city of freedom and solidarity, we respect every religion and we do not accept acts of hooliganism,” the mayor continued.
Polish media outlets also announced that Adamowicz would participate in a solidarity meeting on Thursday under the banner “This is not the face of Gdansk.” Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich, Chairman of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland Lesław Piszewski, and Chairman of the Jewish Religious Community in Gdansk Michał Samet were reported to be participating as well.
On its Facebook page, the Jewish community in the city noted that during the 1930s, attacks on synagogues during Yom Kippur were a “frequent practice” of Polish nationalist militias. A separate statement from the World Jewish Congress pointed out that in “recent years, Jews in Poland have been able to worship with a sense of security, and we hope that this attack does not herald negative change in that positive environment.”
“The attack on Gdansk’s New Synagogue is shocking and dismaying in itself, made all the more distressing by the fact that it took place on Yom Kippur, evoking the terrible tragedies that occurred in German-occupied Poland during the years of the Holocaust,” WJC President Ronald Lauder said on Thursday.