A hostel in southwestern Poland has stirred controversy and drawn condemnation after social media users called attention to a huge banner, reportedly hanging outside the establishment for several months, which bars entry to all “Jews, communists, thieves and traitors.”
Earlier this week, users on Twitter and Google Maps spotted the banner on the Dom Polski hostel in the small village of Cesarzowice in the Lower Silesia Voivodeship, which reads: “Polish House – ban on entry to Jews, communists and all thieves and traitors of Poland.” Most were appalled and quick to express their anger and indignation, with one tagging it “the Nazi House.”
Taki baner wisi na bramie hotelu pod nazwą "Dom Polski" w miejscowości Cesarzowice, województwo dolnośląskie (zdjęcie: Sebastian Karbowiak).
Czy @BeataSzydlo nadal uważa, że "Polska jest wolna od rasizmu i antysemityzmu"? pic.twitter.com/k2OmWnufQW
— Aneta Mościcka (@aneta_moscicka) November 21, 2017
The banner had apparently been hanging outside for several months, with authorities reportedly reluctant to act as the hostel sits on private property. Although there are conflicting reports on whether or not he is the actual owner, it’s the known as the address of one Piotr Rybak, a notorious local nationalist and member of the National Radical Camp (ONR) movement.
Rybak is currently serving a short jail term for inciting racial hatred from an incident dating back to November 2015, where at a nationalist rally in Wroclaw, he burnt an effigy of a Jew. His defense at the time, was that he was burning an effigy of George Soros, but didn’t know what he looked like.
After two years of legal wrangling, Rybak managed to get his sentence reduced from ten months to only three, and fitted with an electronic tag. But last week, a court found him to be in breach of his tag conditions after taking part in another nationalist march on 11 November, as well as his behavior at the event. At the rally, Rybak called for violence against leftists, while in two separate videos that emerged, he could be seen calling Polish First Lady Agatha Kornhauser-Duda a “Jew,” as well as going on an anti-Semitic rant outside a synagogue.
Despite the hostel owner’s aggressive right-wing rhetoric, it seems as though exceptions can be made, so long as foreigners pay their bills. Local media reports that some of the rooms in the hostel are being rented out by Ukrainians, for whom Poles still bear enough animosity stemming from last century’s ethnic conflicts.
This latest controversy comes amid a resurgence in nationalist sentiment in Poland, highlighted by the Independence Day celebrations in Warsaw on November 11. Along with displays of national pride, the rally also attracted more unsavory elements such as members of the neo-fascist ONR, the National Movement (RN) and the All-Polish Youth (MW). Far-right supporters also held up flags with the emblem of the National Armed Forces and the words, “Death to the enemies of the homeland.” One of the activists brazenly told TVP news he was taking part “to remove Jewry from power.”