In a shocking act of intolerance, Grzegorz Braun, a far-right politician in the Polish parliament, used a fire extinguisher to put out a candle on a menorah that was lit for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. This incident occurred within the parliamentary building. The event, which happened on a recent Tuesday, has elicited strong disapproval from diverse political circles in Poland.
Universal Denouncement and Legal Ramifications
Braun’s deplorable deed, stemming from his affiliations with the Confederation party and a background marked by pro-Russian views and the spread of antisemitic theories, was unanimously condemned by politicians from all sides. The Speaker of the Polish Parliament, Szymon Holownia, described the act as deeply disgraceful. As a direct consequence, Holownia not only removed Braun from the parliamentary session of that day but also took legal steps against him by reporting the incident to the authorities. This action underscores Poland’s commitment to being a country that embraces all religious faiths.
Reactions from Political Leaders
Newly elected Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who took office on Monday and delivered his inaugural address to parliament on Tuesday, called the incident a disgrace. Tusk, while pledging support for Ukraine in his speech, emphasized that such acts should never be repeated in the Polish Sejm. The incident led to a temporary suspension of the parliamentary proceedings, as TV footage showed the area filling with smoke or haze from the extinguisher.
Historical Context and Current Implications
The act holds particular significance given Poland’s historical context, where Jewish communities have deep roots and where the horrors of the Holocaust still resonate. This incident is a stark reminder of the ongoing struggles against antisemitism and xenophobia in modern Europe.
Restoration of the Hanukkah Candle
In a symbolic gesture of resilience and unity, the extinguished candles on the menorah were relit following the incident. This act served as a powerful statement against hate and a reaffirmation of the Polish parliament’s commitment to inclusivity and respect for all religions.
In summary, the extinguishing of the Hanukkah candle in the Polish parliament by a far-right lawmaker has sparked a significant backlash, with leaders and political forces standing in solidarity against antisemitism and promoting a message of tolerance and unity.