Prosecutors decide against charges over Polish anti-Semitism book

Other News Materials 12 February 2008 00:31 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- Polish-American sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross will not face charges over his book "Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz", Polish prosecutors decided in Krakau Monday.

The city's prosecutor's office ruled that the publication did not insult the Polish state, and did not provoke hatred, and so charges would not be brought against Gross, PAP news agency reported.

The prosecutors said they were able neither to check the author's sources nor to pass judgment on his theses, and any trial would endanger freedom of expression.

The Polish version of the work, which appeared in Poland a month previously with a subtitle that translates as "A History of a Moral Downfall," sparked an intense historical debate.

Thousands of people headed to Krakow, Warsaw and Kielce for book promotion events with the author, who has lived in the United States for nearly 40 years. Right-wing extremists with shaved heads shouted "Lies! Lies!" and threatened to sue him.

In the book, Gross accuses the majority of Poles not only of having failed to help Jews that the Nazis persecuted, but also of having often participated in various ways in the Jews' destruction.

Some Poles, Gross says, expropriated Jewish property during the Nazi occupation and were afraid, after the war, that they would have to return it to Holocaust survivors.

This, in the author's view, is the main reason for Polish anti- Semitism after 1945. He says the Catholic Church shares blame because it did nothing to stop hostility toward Jews. Gross estimates the number of deaths in postwar anti-Semitic attacks at 500 to 2,500.