Yep, There Were a Bunch of Rallies

Some sleuthing from TPM Readers has confirmed that the there were a bunch of Polish nationalist rallies around the country on Sunday protesting the new Holocaust restitution legislation, Senate Bill 447.

This article at a site called polishclub.org discusses the rallies around the country. Google translate suggests the language is pretty horrendous. Here’s how Google renders one portion of the first paragraph: “This crisis has also resulted in something positive. In Poland, the era of conspiracy ended, we were shown what Polish-Jewish relations really are and what is really going on in them. We were shown the size of Jewish gratitude, for exposing the lives of Poles helping Jews to avoid death, as well as for sheltering them for the last 800 years.” very idiomatic, pun-filled piece. But very inflammatory, anti-Jewish/antisemitic.

A Polish speaking TPM Reader I showed it to called the piece “a very idiomatic, pun-filled piece. But very inflammatory, anti-Jewish/antisemitic.” The joking reference to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the title probably gives you a sense of the flavor.

One thing the article did have that was helpful was this photo of the rally outside the state house in Boston.

In addition to New York, LA and Boston there was a fairly substantial rally in Daley Plaza in Chicago. From the videos I’ve watched I’d say there were at least 200 attendees, maybe more than three hundred. I should point out that having scanned videos of the event in Chicago, it’s a bunch of people walking around with Polish flags and speaking Polish. The banners are simply opposing SB447. So I can’t really say that it was of a similar character to the event in New York.

There was one speaker who spoke in English. His history of the Holocaust wasn’t really top-notch. But his speech was largely unobjectionable. (His speech comes at the end of the first video below and continues at the beginning of the second.) I don’t know what speakers speaking in Polish were saying. However, several of the speakers who spoke in Polish appeared to be wearing armbands of the Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (NSZ), an occupation-era underground paramilitary organization which had politics probably best described as populist-nationalist-Catholic and also anti-Semitic. See here in the picture below …

Other than that, I didn’t see signs that seemed problematic, though you can’t really see one way or another in the video. (Here’s a brief report on the protest on a Chicago area Polish language newscast.)

Here’s the video of the Chicago event …

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