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Groundbreaking conviction of Polish priest for spreading anti-Semitism

Father Michał Woźnicki (Photo: Screenshot)

In a landmark case, a Catholic priest from the Polish city of Poznan, Father Michał Woźnicki, was sentenced to 30 hours of community service a month for the next six months for insulting Jews and inciting hatred against them.

The sentence was handed down in early February after Woźnicki’s trial for comments he made during a sermon in October 2021.

“Jews in the world have assumed the role of a leech, a tick, a body that lives on the host’s body, swells, leading the host’s body to death, moving on to the next one,” the priest said in an online sermon.

He also said that Jews were in league with the devil and responsible for the spread of sexual impropriety in Poland.

Woźnicki was already a controversial figure who had been suspended from preaching directly from his pulpit after making controversial statements.

According to the civil society group, Open Republic Association, which fights anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Poland, the conviction is groundbreaking, because Woźnicki is still an ordained priest.

“This is a precedent case,” the organization said in a statement. “It was not Woźnicki’s first hateful sermon, but the first one that the prosecutor’s office dealt with.”

Jewish leaders in Poland also praised the verdict.

“Woźnicki is well known for his antisemitic diatribes and anti-church tirades (he has called Pope Francis a heretic),” Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, said. “The Polish court has handed down a clear verdict that antisemitic hate speech is illegal in Poland. We are hopeful that the Polish courts will continue to find others guilty of this crime.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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