Polish crowd beats, burns Judas effigy with hat, sidelocks of ultra-Orthodox Jew
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Words 'Judas' and 'traitor' written on the doll's chest

Polish crowd beats, burns Judas effigy with hat, sidelocks of ultra-Orthodox Jew

In Good Friday ceremony in small town of Pruchnik, residents stage public trial for Jesus’ betrayer, depicted with long nose and Haredi attire

A resident of the small town of Pruchnik in southeast Poland beats up an effigy of Judah Iscariot featuring a long nose and ultra-Orthodox sidecurls and brimmed hat, on April 19, 2019. (Screenshot: Twitter)
A resident of the small town of Pruchnik in southeast Poland beats up an effigy of Judah Iscariot featuring a long nose and ultra-Orthodox sidecurls and brimmed hat, on April 19, 2019. (Screenshot: Twitter)

Residents of a small town in Poland on Friday marked Good Friday by making a large doll of Judas Iscariot featuring classic anti-Semitic tropes, beating it up, hanging it from a tree and then burning it.

The ritual is meant to symbolize a public trial for Judas, who according to Christian tradition betrayed Jesus and turned him in to the Romans, leading to his crucifixion. Good Friday marks the day when Jesus is believed to have been crucified.

The ceremony featured several anti-Semitic elements in the small town of Pruchnik in southeastern Poland, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Sunday.

The effigy was given a brimmed hat and sidelocks, making it resemble an ultra-Orthodox Jew, along with a long nose, a trope used by Nazi Germany and by anti-Semites worldwide to demonize and dehumanize Jews.

The words “Judas” and “traitor” were written on the doll’s chest.

The doll was featured in the town’s central square in the morning, with its “trial” beginning in the late afternoon.

The residents symbolically sentenced Judas to death, hanged the doll from a tall tree, and then dragged it through the streets with the public — including many children — beating it up with sticks.

The ceremony ended with the effigy being burned.

The ceremony has ancient roots, according to the report, and in some cases the doll was also marked as Jewish using a Star of David on its arm.

Senior Israeli opposition figure Yair Lapid, No. 2 on the centrist Blue and White party, responded to the report by saying that “hatred of Jews is continuing to poison the air.

“The Poles need to fight anti-Semitism, not pass laws denying their part in the Holocaust,” Lapid continued. “The Netanyahu government should stop stuttering and unequivocally condemn [it].”

Poland, which was home to Europe’s largest Jewish community before the occupation by Nazi Germany (1939-1945), has seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in recent years.

Israel and Poland have recently seen diplomatic tensions over a controversial law that forbids blaming the Polish nation for Nazi crimes. That crisis was triggered anew in February after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a visit to the country that some Poles collaborated with the Germans during the Holocaust.

He said speaking about the complicity of individuals was permissible despite the law. But his comment, which was misrepresented in some media to include all Poles, triggered a diplomatic spat. It escalated when Israel’s acting foreign minister, Israel Katz, later said that Poles take in “anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk.”

AP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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