Polish police detain fans over anti-Semitic banners
Polish police detained five football fans suspected of displaying large anti-Semitic banners at a match in southern Poland last weekend.
The country’s soccer federation also penalised the club. The banners were unfurled by fans of Resovia Rzeszow during a match Saturday against local rival Stala Rzeszow.
One depicted a caricatured man with a large hooked nose wearing a striped yarmulke, a Jewish skullcap, in the blue-and-white colours of the opposing team.
Those are also the colours of the Israeli flag and the skullcap’s pattern evoked the striped prison garb worn by some prisoners at Auschwitz.
A second large banner read: “Death to the Hooked Noses.”
Polish media reported that ahead of the game, fans marched through the city with a banner that said “The Aryan hordes are coming.”
Police say in a statement that they detained five Rzeszow residents and charged two of them under a law banning public incitement against ethnic or religious groups.
Poland’s football federation also banned Resovia Rzeszow fans from attending the team’s games through the end of the season.
The Anti-Defamation League, a US group that fights anti-Semitism, said it welcomed both the arrests and the punitive measure taken by the football federation.
Earlier in the week the group condemned the incident, saying it was especially troubling given that only 700 of the 15,000 Jews who lived in Rzeszow before World War II survived the death camps that Nazi Germany set up on Polish soil.
“Jews were starved and executed in Rzeszow’s ghetto, which was later transformed into a concentration camp for the region,” the group said.
“Some were sent to nearby death camps, while others were shot in the forest. Calling for death to Jews on the same spot cannot go unpunished.”