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Polish Forbes sorry for defaming Jewish groups

Fearing lawsuit, magazine publishes apology and several retractions after articles accused Jewish leaders of corruption

Aerial view of the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw (photo credit: courtesy)
Aerial view of the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw (photo credit: courtesy)

WARSAW, Poland — The Polish edition of Forbes magazine apologized for three articles about the restitution of prewar property of Jewish communities that targeted the leaders of Poland’s organized Jewish community and several Jewish organizations.

The apology for the articles published in September was published Monday on the magazine’s website.

The original articles were titled “Who are our leaders?”, “Jewish accusation,” and “Kaddish for a million bucks.”

“In particular we apologize for the publication of information suggesting the following activities: that the individuals named in the articles reaped personal benefit from the activities of Jewish organizations in Poland; that the restituted Jewish cemeteries in Torun, Gliwice and Lublin were sold contrary to the principles of Jewish tradition; and that there was no settling of accounts of the funds allocated for preservation of Jewish heritage,” the editorial staff of Forbes and its publisher, Ringier Axel Springer, said in the statement.

Forbes also published corrections to the article “Kaddish for a million bucks,” written by Wojciech Surmacz and Nissan Tzur.

“It is not true that real estate representing part of the assets recovered by the Association of Jewish Communities in the Republic of Poland or the Jewish Community of Warsaw was sold below market value,” the correction said.

It also stated, “It is not true that cemeteries in Torun, Lublin and Gliwice were sold by the Association of Jewish Communities in the Republic of Poland. Jewish Communities do not liquidate any parts of restituted Jewish property which according to Jewish law or custom require special care or protection.”

One of the articles described Piotr Kadlcik, the president of Poland’s Union of Jewish Communities, as one who “likes a drink or many and can often be seen on the street trying to find his bearings.” It called Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, “the perfect rabbi to foster corruption.”

Another article accused Monika Krawczyk, CEO of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, as “charged by her employers, the largest Jewish world organizations, with selling and liquidating as fast as feasible the half of the restituted communal property she controls on behalf of those organizations, and with transferring the moneys to their bank accounts for further waste… to hell with Polish Jews!”

In October, Kadlcik published a statement in which he disputed allegations of mismanagement of property from prewar Jewish communities.

Forbes decided to publish an apology and corrections to avoid a threatened lawsuit by the Jewish community.

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