WARSAW, Poland – Poland is marking 50 years since the start of student protests that were exploited by the communist regime to purge Jews from the party and from Poland.
The result was the expulsion of 13,000 Jews, among them Holocaust survivors and prominent intellectuals like philosopher Leszek Kolakowski and sociologist Zygmunt Bauman.
The anniversary Thursday had long been expected to be commemorated with a celebratory message about how far Poland has distanced itself from its anti-Semitic demons of the past. Instead, it follows a new wave of anti-Semitism sparked by a recent diplomatic dispute with Israel.
Starting in March 1968, students staged mass protests that were brutally quashed by the regime. Rival factions in the communist party exploited the protests in their pursuit of party control, with the crisis climaxing in the purge of Jews.