Nationalist protesters called for Jews to be killed or expelled from Poland at a rally in the central Polish city of Kalisz on Thursday.

Protesters at the rally, held to mark Poland’s Independence Day, blasted Jews as enemies of the state and burned a copy of the 1264 document known as the Statute of Kalisz, which bestowed on Jews rights and protection and resulted in a large Jewish community that was ultimately wiped out by the Nazis in World War II.

Anti-Semitic slogans were also shouted at a large Independence Day rally in Warsaw, as well as at other locations across the country.

Kalisz Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski had attempted to ban the protest, according to a report in German state-owned media outlet Deutsche Welle. The government, however, overruled the ban, designating the demonstration as a national ceremony.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the incident “horrifying,” saying it “reminds every Jew around the world of the strength of the hatred and inherent risk that exists in the world if it is not cut off without compromise.“

“The unequivocal condemnation by Polish officials is important and necessary. I expect the Polish government to take a firm stance against the people who took part in this shocking display of hatred,” he added.

Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said organizers of the rally would “suffer legal consequences,” according to the DW report. Polish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lukasz Jasina said the protest was “used to propagate hate, anti-Semitism and religious intolerance.”

The Roman Catholic Church in Poland also condemned the demonstration, according to the report.

“Such attitudes have nothing to do with patriotism. They undermine the dignity of our brethren and destroy social order and peace. They are in direct contradiction to the Gospel and the teaching of the church,” said Bishop Rafal Markowski, chairman of the Committee for Dialogue with Judaism at the Polish Bishops’ Conference, in a statement.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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