Polish politician denies Jewish museum’s claim her 2017 tweet was anti-Semitic

JTA

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – A former Polish presidential candidate has called on the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews to apologize for putting one of her tweets on display as an example of modern anti-Semitism.

Magdalena Ogórek in a tweet on Monday called the display of her prior tweet “another expression of oppressive political propaganda.” She said that if the Polin Museum does not apologize for placing her tweet on display that she will go to court and ask for compensation, which she later said she would donate to The Museum of Cursed Soldiers, which highlights a variety of Polish anti-Soviet and anti-communist resistance movements formed in the later stages of World War II.

Her tweet appears in a new temporary exhibition titled “Estranged: March ’68 and Its Aftermath.” In the July 2017 tweet, displayed anonymously, Ogórek asks if a rival politician, Senator Marek Borowski, changed his surname “from Berman to Borowski,” referring to his Jewish roots. At the time of the tweet, she was criticized by Jewish organizations and the leftist SLD party from which she ran for president three years ago.

She is demanding the removal of the tweet from the exhibition and a public apology.

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“No one has the right to gag the questions of a historian and a journalist. To see my tweet as an example of ‘modern anti-Semitism’ is another example of political oppression,” said Ogórek, now a broadcaster who leans right politically.  In the 2015 presidential election she ran an unsuccessful campaign as the candidate of the Democratic Left Alliance.

Ogórek in a letter to the director of the Polin Museum recalled that she had visited the museum before its opening and that she has often come back with her daughter. “Today my child is over a dozen years old. I am proud to say that thanks to me she is a young Polish woman, a patriot who has a lot of affection for the Jewish people,” Ogórek wrote.

The exhibition deals with the organized anti-Semitic campaign by Polish authorities that resulted in the exodus of several thousand Jews from Poland in 1968. Polish President Andrzej Duda apologized this year on March 8 for the actions of Polish authorities 50 years ago.

“Part of our exhibition ‘Estranged: March ’68 and Its Aftermath’ includes examples of modern hate speech similar to the language used 50 years ago. All texts are real, and come from various websites and social media. We don’t publish the names of their authors,” Żaneta Czyżniewska, Polin Museum spokesperson, told JTA.

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