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Board meets Polish ambassador

Last updated: 2004-03-31

On the eve of Poland's accession to the European Union the Board of Deputies met the outgoing Ambassador, Dr. Stanislaw Komorowski, to discuss issues of concern to the British and international Jewish communities.

Welcoming the delegation to his Embassy, Dr Komorowski responded to a variety of issues raised by Flo Kaufmann, Vice President of the Board and chairman of the International Division, Neville Nagler, Director General, and Alex Faiman, a member of the International Division. Whilst recognising that antisemitism was on the rise in the UK, the Ambassador explained that this was not the case in Poland. There had been an open and frank discussion about the Jedwabne massacre in which the President of Poland condemned those involved. Poland is the only naturally growing community in the Jewish Diaspora, and Poles of Jewish origin were now comfortable about admitting their origins and returning to their religion's roots.

Dr Komorowski expressed his confidence that his government would support the Irish resolution on antisemitism at the United Nations. He drew upon the experience of Central and Eastern Europe in moving towards democracy in support of the view that this process needed to take place in the Middle East, and that the international community needed to play a meaningful role, including financially.

In response to questioning, the Ambassador understood fully why Jewish visits to Poland centred on Auschwitz but asked the community to remember that Poland had much more to offer. He urged the community to remember that the huge pre-war Jewish population had come about because Jews had been invited to settle in Poland at a time when they could expect better treatment there than further West.

Following the meeting, Flo Kaufmann said: "We are glad that at this busy juncture the Ambassador was able to spare his valuable time to meet with us, and also that he displayed such an interest and so favourable a response to what we had to say. The Ambassador stressed his country's support on  Jewish issues and its willingness to deal openly with Poland's past. We are sorry his time here is soon coming to an end, and look forward to welcoming his successor upon his arrival."