Polish Academics Protest Abuse of Term ‘Anthropology’ in Antisemitic Newspaper’s Headline
The academic leadership of the Polish Anthropological Society on Friday and a prominent Polish Jewish organization were among the voices on Friday joining the chorus of condemnation that greeted this week’s revelation of a viciously antisemitic newspaper on sale in the kiosk of the hotel attached to the national parliament building in Warsaw.
The headline on the front page of Tylko Polska, an ultranationalist weekly, announced that it would assist in readers in the task of “How to Recognize a Jew.” Among the dubious methods listed was “anthropological features.”
In a letter to the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the head of the Polish Anthropological Society strongly protested “the shaming of our scientific field by antisemites.”
“Scientists dealing with biological anthropology express the categorical objection that any information about our scientific field should be used as a typological tool that boils down to stigmatizing people,” Prof. Krzysztof Szostek wrote.
Invoking the racial pseudoscience of the Nazi German regime as a warning against the abuse of his academic discipline, Prof. Szostek added: “Considering the fact that this type of research led to the greatest tragedy of national minorities in the history of our species, we forcefully object to such behavior and we oppose in any way the use anthropologists and their research for such a shameful purpose.”
In a separate letter that was also published by Gazeta Wyborcza, Sergiusz Kowalski — the head of the Polish branch of B’nai B’rith — wrote to the speaker of the Polish Parliament to point out that Tylko Polska‘s publisher had a track record of promoting Nazi-style antisemitism.
“The magazine’s publisher is Leszek Bubel, who has been running his anti-Jewish campaign throughout the country for more than a dozen years,” Kowalski wrote in his letter to parliamentary speaker Marek Kuchcinski.
Kowalski identified Bubel as the publisher of “the booklets ‘How to Recognize the Jew,’ ‘The Truth About Jewish Ritual Murders,’ and ‘The Polish-Jewish War for Crosses,’ in which you can read about ‘circumcised brains’ and ‘crafty Jewish seed.'”
Kowalski said that “incidents such as this one echo around the world and place a deep, dark shadow on the reputation of the Polish parliament and the whole country.”
Appealing to Kuchinski to “take decisive action,” Kowalski called for the “Polish parliament to become an antisemitism-free zone.”