A major survey conducted by the Centre for Research on Prejudice at Warsaw University (CRP) has shown that modern forms of antisemitism in Poland remain constant while traditional Jew-hate is on the rise.
In the survey, presented to the Polish parliament earlier this month, 63 per cent of the 965 randomly selected respondents said they believed that there is a Jewish conspiracy to control international banking and the media.
Eighteen per cent agreed with the statement that “Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus Christ”, a rise of 5 per cent from the last CRP survey — which used the same questions — in 2009. Fifty three per cent disagreed with that statement, compared to 66 per cent in 2009.
Asked whether they believed that “Jews use Christian blood for their ritual purposes”, 13 per cent answered in the affirmative, a rise of three per cent from 2009. Thirty-five per cent disagreed, compared to 46 per cent in 2009.
The survey also revealed the extent of anti-Israeli views among Poles. Thirty five per cent of respondents agreed that “Israel is a country that does not flinch at nothing in order to achieve its goals”, while 34 per cent disagreed.
Twenty-one per cent agreed that “the way Israelis treat the Palestinians does not differ from the way Hitler treated the Jews during the Second World War”, with 59 per cent disagreeing.
Michal Bilewicz, a professor who worked on the survey, said: “The most important finding of the study is that current antisemitism is only weakly related to religion. In previous studies, those who attended the Church more often, and who expressed higher Christian religiosity, had higher levels of antisemitic prejudice.
"Our recent findings show that current antisemitism is much less related to church attendance and religious devotion.”
Another striking finding was that the level of antisemitism had not dropped with time. The number of people believing in the Jewish conspiracy remained unchanged from 2009.
Mr Bilewicz said: “We also found a slight increase in the number of people who hold the traditional forms of antisemitism, such as blood libel and deicide beliefs.”
Mr Bilewicz stressed that there are almost no violent attacks on Jews in Poland and that the country is generally safe for Jewish visitors.
He said: “The scale of antisemitic belief in the country is indeed high, however, and in a crisis — economic or political — such beliefs could lead to antisemitic aggression.”