A survey commissioned recently by the leadership of the Jewish community in Warsaw revealed that 54% of Poles believe Jews have "too much influence on the global economy."
Amid this troubling finding, representatives of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) who visited former Nazi concentration camps in Poland were amazed to discover anti-Semitic souvenirs sold on the street in almost every tourist site in the country, including paintings and amulets of Jews waving dollars – for people to hang in their homes as a charm for protecting their money.
Yaakov Haguel, head of the WZO's Department for Countering Anti-Semitism, sent an angry letter on the matter to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. "Such symbols and stereotypes led to the annihilation of millions of Jews," he wrote.
He attached to the letter a picture of one of the "ornaments" and asked the Polish prime minister to take action on the matter.
"I would like to know how the Polish government and education ministry plan to prevent the sale on the markets and streets, while adamantly fighting expressions of anti-Semitism and educating young people to commemorate the Holocaust," Haguel wrote.
"I completely agree with your opinion," the head of the Polish prime minister's office wrote in response on behalf of Tusk. "Selling posters, paintings and such characters only deepens stereotypes in society. There is a lot to do with education, and Poland sees the issue as highly important, with schools teaching the Holocaust and the Jewish culture and history.
"Nonetheless, we identify the problems you are pointing to and are not belittling them, but aspiring that the next generations in Poland grow up in a world free of stereotypes."
The response on behalf of the Polish government may appear harsh, but basically says that the law does not prevent stores from selling the souvenirs. Haguel sent another letter last week, demanding that the Polish prime minister work to change the law. The WZO is awaiting a response.