BEFORE THE OCTOBER THERE WAS SEPTEMBER. ANTI-JEWISH RIOTING IN WALBRZYCH IN 1956 (Przed pazdziernikiem byl wrzesien. Wystapienia antyzydowskie w Walbrzychu w 1956 roku).
The changes taking place in Poland in 1956 contributed to an intensification of anti-Jewish sentiment, kept in check until then by the authorities. Contrary to official internationalist propaganda, negative stereotypes of Jews were rife among the people, including members of the ruling Polish United Workers' Party [Communist party]. They were accused of cronyism, ‘immunity from prosecution', preoccupation with their own interests, a hostile attitude toward Poles and in general acting to the detriment of ‘the working people'. Anti-Semitic outbursts in Lower Silesia (including the unrest which occurred in Walbrzych on 11 September 1956) were a reflexion of the tensions that occurred during that year in Poland and other East European countries. The ruling party was looking for answers to questions about the causes of the anti-Semitic postures. And it usually found the simplest cause in the observation that the Jews themselves were to blame. Such an instrumental approach to the matter may have prevented further unrest but the problem of the Jewish ethnic minority remained. The party found itself wanting in people capable of critical self-appraisal.
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