Board of Deputies raises concerns with Polish Ambassador after embassy employee praises antisemite

Board of Deputies Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb has met Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki to raise concerns about an embassy employee who used her social media account to praise the work of a notorious antisemite.

Following the meeting, Sheila said: “We would like to express our gratitude to Polish ambassador Arkady Rzegocki for his time today. Since his arrival in the UK, the ambassador has constantly demonstrated his friendship to the Jewish community in general, and to the Board of Deputies in particular.

“We used the opportunity of the meeting to raise the profoundly concerning comments of Polish Embassy employee Agata Supinska, who used her social media account to praise some aspects of the works of notorious antisemite Wladyslaw Studnicki, saying that Studnicki was “one of the greatest Polish thinkers of the 20th Century” and expressing her hope that Studnicki’s ideas should be remembered. Studnicki’s ideas included support for the Nazis until at least 1940, when he visited Nazi Germany to try and meet Hitler, the infamous 1930s treatise Sprawa polsko-zydowska (“The Polish Jewish Question”), which for the gradual emigration of 100,000 Jews a year from Poland, ethnically cleansing the country of a people he referred to as “parasites on the healthy branch of the Polish tree” and for the “dejudaization of Poland”.

“The Ambassador shared his concern about the comments, not least given the indescribable brutality inflicted by the Nazis on all Poles, including Catholics and Jews, and confirmed that he had spoken to Ms Supinska about the views she had shared on her social media, and received assurances that she would no longer indulge in them.

“He described an upcoming embassy project to celebrate Wojciech Rychlewicz, a Polish diplomat, who is buried in London, who issued Jews visas to rescue them from the horrors of the Holocaust and reminded about the Embassy’s – and all Polish diplomatic posts’- efforts in honouring the memory of Polish diplomats who worked toward the cause of saving Jews during the War, such as Aleksander Ładoś in Bern or Tadeusz Romer in Tokyo. He noted that this was the true priority of the Embassy in respect to the history of the 1930s and 1940s and regretted the distraction from it.

“During the meeting, we also raised our concerns about ongoing issues relating to private restitution and about the legislation, thought currently frozen, that would prevent export of kosher meat from Poland.

“The Ambassador kindly agreed to relay our concerns to Warsaw and we agreed to keep in close contact on these and other issues.”

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