Wiesenthal Center Calls On Pope Benedict XVI To Dismiss Polish Priest For His Outrageous Antisemitic Remarks

June 9, 2007

Wiesenthal Center Calls On Pope Benedict XVI To Dismiss Polish Priest For His Outrageous Antisemitic Remarks

The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on Pope Benedict XVI to dismiss a Polish priest for his blatant antisemitism, which is at the center of a political crisis threatening to topple the Polish government. In a tape recorded conversation, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, (pictured), a Polish priest and founder and head of Radio Maryja has called the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, a "fraudster, who is in the pockets of the Jewish lobby" ... "You know what this is about, Poland giving [the Jews] $65 billion. They will come to you and say, 'Give me your coat. Take off your trousers. Give me your shoes.'"  The antisemitic tirade came in response to an agreement to compensate Jews (and others)  who lost property confiscated by the post-war communist regime

This is not the first antisemitic incident involving Rydzyk, who has been criticized by Vatican officials in the past, but defended by some of his peers in the Polish clergy. Rydzyk spent five years at a radio station in Germany which was closed by the German Catholic church.

"This is outrageous - a Josef Goebbels in a collar," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "Once again, antisemitism has been injected into the mix of making the Jews, yet again, the scapegoats of another political crisis. The time has come for the Pope to act decisively. You cannot have a priest preaching hatred from a radio pulpit to millions of Poles," Hier concluded.

 The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310.772.2458  or  310.553.9036.