Poll: High Anti-Semitism Among Warsaw Teens

Poll shows anti-Jewish sentiment among youth in Poland's capital. 44% don't want a Jewish neighbor.

Contact Editor

Holocaust memorial in Poland
Holocaust memorial in Poland
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Anti-Semitism is high among teenagers in the Polish capital, according to an opinion survey conducted in the run-up to Friday's 70th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, the AFP news agency reports.

The poll of students from 20 Warsaw high schools, published Tuesday, found that 44 percent of respondents said they would be unhappy to have a Jewish neighbor.

In the survey of 1,250 students commissioned by the Jewish Community of Warsaw, the Homo Homini polling institute also found that two in five said they would not like to have a Jewish classmate, and 61 percent said they would be upset if their partner turned out to be a Jew.
"These are unfortunately very high percentages," said Michal Bilewicz, researcher on intergroup relations at the University of Warsaw.
"Compared with national studies of the kind, Warsaw does not come out looking good," he added, quoted on the website of the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

Around 55 percent of the respondents deemed that Polish aid to Jews in hiding during the Holocaust had been "sufficient", while only five percent said it was not and 11 percent even considered the extent of help "excessive".
The survey sampled high school students, who are aged 16 to 18, as part of a wider effort to bust stereotypes.
"We wanted to probe their attitudes towards Jews, since we're planning to prepare an educational program or social campaign in the future," spokeswoman Joanna Korzeniewska told AFP.

She said the results show that this kind of programme "is even more necessary than we supposed.”
The findings are "all the more surprising given that almost no Jews remain in Poland", community leader Piotr Kadlcik told the Internet portal Interia.pl.    On the eve of the Holocaust, Poland was home to around 3.3 million Jews -- or 10 percent of the population -- with 400,000 living in the capital.
Nazi Germany built the Warsaw ghetto in 1940 to isolate around 480,000 of the capital's Jews before deporting the majority to their deaths.
Some 90 percent were wiped out, and many of the survivors later left Poland or hid their Jewish roots.
Friday marks the 70th anniversary of the ill-fated 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, Europe's first urban anti-Nazi revolt, when some 200 Jews took up arms against the occupying Germans.
In the 2002 census only 1,133 people claimed Jewish roots, while last year the number grew to around 8,000. But according to various estimates, the true number could be as high as 20,000 to 50,000.