Cardinal Hlond condemned Kielce pogrom in 1946


As an answer to the accusations against Cardinal A. Hlond, Primate of Poland, of his negative attitude towards the Jewish people, on basis of the Primate’s Lenten Pastoral Letter from 1936 entitled „Catholic moral principles”, and of the alleged lack of reaction of Card. Hlond after the Kielce pogrom in 1946, the Postulation Office of Card. Hlond released a statement and two documents showing the relationship of Card. Hlond to the Jewish people.

In the statement, the Postulation Office points out that it must be clearly stated that the accusation of the Primate’s antisemitism is an attempt to discredit his name and a manipulation.

It is not widely known that Cardinal Hlond saved many Jewish people. “My personal position on Jews is known, for example, from my pre-war statements. During the time of exile in France, in the years 1940 – 1944, I saved many Polish, German and French Jews from deportation to death camps – I facilitated their trip to America, placed them in safe havens, I helped them achieve documents, thanks to which they survived” – wrote Cardinal Hlond.

The Postulation Office explains that “in the Pastoral Letter, the Cardinal pointed to errors in the conduct of Jews, which Catholics cannot agree with. He did not accuse all Jews, however, because he was convinced that many of them were venerable and noble people. The manipulation of the text consisted mainly in publicly showing only some of the sentences taken out of context. At the same time, when looking at the text entirely, referring to Jews, a very positive view is expressed. Primate Hlond calls his diocese to love his neighbor, likewise to the love of every Jew” – writes Postulator Fr. Bogusław Kozioł SChr.

One of the documents attached by the Postulation Office is the article of the „Universal Journal” published in Radom-Kielce in 1946, where we can read: “A few days ago H. E. Cardinal Hlond, guested on a long audience in Poznań a Jewish representative of Religious Associations, prof. Michał Zylberberg. The conversation took place in an extremely cordial atmosphere. The Cardinal was extremely interested in the fate of Jewish salvation; it was a conversation far distanced from an ordinary office. It was evident that the unheard-of tragedy of the Jewish people was deeply touched by the head of the Catholic Church in Poland” – points out Postulator.

As for the events of assault on Jews after the liberation of Poland, Cardinal Hlond explained to Prof. Michał Zylberberg, that “this fills me with real sadness, because they are acts against the basic standards of the Catholic religion, these cases cry out for vengeance to heaven, there is no absolution, and no forgiveness the more that there is no reason for such speeches, as well there is not present in Poland an objective basis for spreading anti-Semitism. This is the real madness of those who are constantly conspiring, sitting in the woods. It seems to them that they are making a policy that by attacking Jews, they are fighting the government. I condemn their activities as a Catholic and as a Pole” – said Card. Hlond.