Leeds professor rejects Polish award over antisemitic slurs

By Zoe Winograd, August 20, 2013
Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman

The former chair of sociology at the University of Leeds has rejected an honorary doctorate from a Polish university, blaming antisemitic attacks against him.

Following the announcement that professor emeritus Zygmunt Bauman was to receive an honorary doctorate at the University of Lower Silesia in Wroclaw on October 24, the 87-year-old philosopher received several antisemitic attacks via social media internet sites.

According to reports these comments included,“I cannot stand the Jewish Bolshevik”, “Death to the Zionist plague of mankind”, and “Down with Judeo-Communism” .

In his letter declining the doctorate, Professor Bauman expressed his desire to protect the university from an “unnecessary uproar” .

Leeds University rector Robert Barberry called the situation “a capitulation to the extreme right” .

In 1968 the Polish academic , who is known for his work on the internet as a destructive force in society, lost his professorship at the University of Warsaw as a result of an antisemitic campaign against him. He came to Britain after teaching at Tel Aviv University.

Last updated: 10:03am, August 20 2013