EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR CONDEMNATION OF RACISM AT FOOTBALL STADIUMS

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution in which it calls the national sports federations and football clubs to counter the scourge of racism, neo-fascism and xenophobia in stadiums and in the world of sport by condemning and punishing those responsible and by promoting, in cooperation with schools and civil society organizations, positive educational activities aimed at young sport fans.

In addition, the European Parliament ‚supports and praises social groups and civil society organizations fighting against fascism, racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance and calls for their protection’.

The resolution was adopted on 25th October 2018 in connection with the increase in the number of neo-fascist acts of violence in Europe. Through the resolution, the Parliament also expresses its deep concern over the ‚impunity with which neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups operate in some Member States’ and calls for robust condemnation and punishment of hate crimes.

Rafal Pankowski, co-founder of the ‚NEVER AGAIN’ Association, was involved in preparing the contents of the resolution.

In October 2018, the Polish football authorities had cancelled an anti-racism campaign in the Polish stadiums. The initiative aimed to show players and referees opposing intolerance and racial prejudice, but it was met with opposition from several clubs which have a track record of racist incidents at their matches. The action was to take place during the ‘Football People’ Action Weeks organized across Europe by the Fare network with the support of UEFA.

Since 1996, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has conducted the first anti-racism campaign in Eastern European football, ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of the Stadiums’ and is a founding member of the Fare network.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org 
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

MUSIC, FOOTBALL, AND REFUGEE RIGHTS

This summer, the biggest open-air free festival in Europe hosted a unique edition of the ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out Of Stadiums’ tournament, organized by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association. At the Pol’and’Rock Festival (also known as Polish Woodstock), the players symbolically represented countries from all over the world. In the final play-off, Poland played against Iran, while the fair play award went to Croatia. A match was also played between the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s team together with artists involved in the ‘Music Against Racism’ campaign on one side and the team of the Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) on the other. The Commissioner, Dr Adam Bodnar officially inaugurated the whole tournament and even personally refereed during the opening game.

The festival was held in Kostrzyn on the Polish-German border from 2nd to 4th August 2018 and it drew between 500 and 700 hundred thousand people, as estimated by the organizers.

– ‘The World Cup in Russia didn’t go down without racist incidents. Also in Antwerp, Polish fans insulted and assaulted Senegali fans. After the match Poland-Senegal (which the former lost), numerous racist insults were published on the Internet,’ said Piotr Ciolkowski, who co-leads the ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out Of Stadiums’ campaign by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association. – ‘Through the anti-racist tournament at Pol’and’Rock Festival, we wanted to remind everyone about the importance of respect and diversity in sports’.

The activity received support from Dariusz Dziekanowski, a legend of Celtic Glasgow and Legia Warsaw and a former star of the Polish national team. The tournament partners included the Fare network, the local authorities of Kostrzyn, and the Polish fan club of FC St. Pauli, the Silesian Pirates.

The Polish Woodstock Festival is not just about sporting activities, after all it is also a music event. – ‘We’ve held meetings with bands who support our campaign Music Against Racism. For example, NEVER AGAIN invited members of the amazing group called Na Gorze (Upstairs), which includes musicians who are disabled, to share their story with the audience. They had overcome all the obstacles and became fully-fledged artists,’ said Joanna Naranowicz, an activist of NEVER AGAIN and herself vocalist of the Qulturka band. The musicians of Na Gorze were joined during the festival by the Polish-Danish star singer-songwriter Czeslaw Mozil, known for his support for diversity and equality. Together, they had recorded a song with an anti-hate, pro-peace message.

The other educational activities organized by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ team during the festival included DIY art workshops promoting diversity and respect as well as discussions on topics such as refugee rights.

In 2018, the festival line-up included, among others, the Israeli-based Balkan Beat Box – a creative mix of Middle Eastern and klezmer traditions, electronic music and punk rock – as well as heavy-metal stars Judas Priest and Soulfly, the US rockers Goo Goo Dolls and a plethora of other acts of various styles, from death metal to jazz and folk.

The festival audience paid homage to the people of Warsaw who fought for freedom in 1944, during the anti-Nazi Warsaw Uprising (that broke out on 1st August). A minute of silence was held to honor their sacrifice.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was founded in 1996 by Marcin Kornak, a Polish poet and activist (who passed away in 2014). In spite of his disability, he laid the foundations of the Polish anti-racism and anti-discrimination movement. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

A VICTORY AGAINST ONLINE PEDDLERS OF HATRED

In the space of three months the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, in cooperation with Allegro (the biggest online e-commerce platform in East-Central Europe), has effected the removal of over 1,000 auctions of newly manufactured items with racist, fascist and antisemitic content. The platform has now turned to the representatives of the association with a suggestion that they develop systems for recognising and eliminating all such future offers.

The items offered for sale included, among others, necklaces, signet rings and badges with Nazi swastikas, contemporary imitations of Nazi military decorations, a brass bust of Hitler, watches, lighters and flasks with emblems of the Third Reich, Hitler Youth pocket knives, mugs with images of Hitler, T-shirts with the inscription ‘No apologies for Jedwabne’ (Jedwabne is a town in North-East Poland where in 1941 a group of Poles burned to death hundreds of their Jewish neighbours), CDs with music by the leading neo-fascist bands, and even a contemporary coffee grinder with an SS symbol.

– ‘The Internet has become a space in which hatred is propagated on a large scale and in various ways. Allegro, the largest e-commerce company in Poland, has decided to strive to eradicate this type of offers and we are more than pleased with the results of our cooperation ‘ – said Dr Anna Tatar from the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association. – ‘A lot of effort is still needed to make objects or publications with racist and antisemitic content disappear from this site for good.’

– ‘It seems particularly important to remove numerous auctions offering neo-fascist music. Music is a strong carrier of ideologies, including racist extremism. When we searched Allegro we saw how easy it was to find albums of bands whose songs had references to Mein Kampf, the Aryan race, the tearing out of >the Hebrew root<, the white revolution, or national socialism. Today, the availability of such releases has been significantly reduced’ – said Jacek Dziegielewski from the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

Thanks to the cooperation with ‘NEVER AGAIN’, hundreds of sale offers have been removed by Allegro. Over 640 of them related to items such as replicas / imitations of Nazi decorations and 230 were auctions of CDs with fascist music. There were over 70 jewellery auctions (signet rings, pendants), over 30 auctions of T-shirts with antisemitic and racist slogans, as well as more than 50 auctions of other Nazi-style gadgets, such as watches or lighters with SS symbols.

The deletion of sales offers or auctions which are contrary to law is permitted by articles 256 and 257 of the Polish Criminal Code together with the provisions in Appendix No. 1 to the Allegro Code of Conduct. Allegro has also developed a programme named ‘The Rights Protection Cooperation’ under which the service aims to eliminate illicit offers. On 21 March 2018, the International Day for Combatting Racial Discrimination, ‘NEVER AGAIN’ became an official partner in this program for a three-month pilot period. Currently both organisations are working together to develop further methods of cooperation.

Established in 1999, Allegro is one of the biggest Internet sales companies in Europe. In 2017, it had over 16 million users and more than 20 million accounts. Between 2008 and 2016 it was owned by the South African corporation Naspers (formerly Nationale Pers, a company linked with the apartheid system). For years, the platform was used for sales of racist and fascist propaganda products.

The campaign of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association against the sales of items with racist material on Allegro commenced as far back as 2009. That year a petition appealing for the removal of such auctions was signed by several thousand people, including well-known figures from the fields of culture and civil society. A court case related to the campaign led to a Supreme Court ruling in 2015, in which the Supreme Court of Poland stated the criticism of the company by activists and artists for allowing the sales of racist materials was legitimate. The continued campaign led Allegro to its later decision to establish cooperation with ‘NEVER AGAIN’.

For over a decade now the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has been taking various actions to stop the promotion of racist and antisemitic hatred on the Internet. Its programme called ‘Racism-Delete’ has had a number of successes. One of them was the decision by the Polish authorities in 2014 to ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime together with the Additional Protocol on combatting racism.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was founded in Warsaw in 1996 by Marcin Kornak (1968-2014). Throughout the years it has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally. It has conducted anti-racist educational campaigns in the field of music and sports and it has been personally supported by numerous figures including Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is also a member of the International Network against Cyber Hate (INACH), which brings together organizations from twenty countries fighting hatred and discrimination on the Internet.

Further information may be found on:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

PROTESTS AGAINST A NAZI CELEBRITY IN THE NATIONAL STADIUM

The National Boxing Gala, announced as the biggest boxing event in Polish history, is to take place at Warsaw’s National Stadium on May 25th. Minister Anna Maria Anders – daughter of the legendary World War II general – who is now the Prime Minister’s plenipotentiary for international dialogue has extended her patronage over the event. Curiously, the gala features Artur Binkowski, a Polish-Canadian neo-Nazi.

The bouts are to be accompanied by music performances by pop stars including the famous Polish rapper Liroy who is also a Member of Parliament. The host and ring announcer is to be Michael Buffer, known for his collaboration with Donald Trump. The organizer, Marcin Najman, an ex European champion in kickboxing, says that the gala constitutes a form of celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poland’s regaining of independence.

The now 42-year old Binkowski reached quarter-finals at the Olympic Games in Sydney, representing Canada, where he lives. Since 2012 he boxes mainly in Poland and is known to have had  problems with the law. In a recent incident in Canada, he was arrested and held for a month in February this year.

During a press conference at the National Stadium, Binkowski  made a speech in which he called for a ‘pure white Poland’ and condemned politicians whom he does not recognize as ‘true Poles’. He also paid homage to a group of supporters whom he called ‘my skinheads’.

In his social media posts Binkowski frequently promotes songs from the repertoire of the neo-Nazi band Honor, he also posts his own comments with racist and antisemitic contents, e.g. ‘We are still under partition of foreign powers!! And this has gone on for almost 300 years. The first time, they raped us physically!! After World War II we were occupied by Russia. In 1989 our mothers and fathers rejected Moscow, Russia and Communism. Since 1989 to this time and it’s almost 2020, we are ruled by Jews and Israel!!’ In another post he comments: ‘Lefties, Judases, poisoned brains (…) Jews are making them into idiots and traitors. They should be  stood up against a wall and shot.’

The organizers of the Gala have not backed out of featuring Binkowski who is to fight with Najman. His name is seen on the official internet site of the National Stadium. The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has been asked to intervene in this matter by a correspondent who wrote: ‘This is simply shocking! This man wipes his face with the Polish flag, shouts abuse and promotes a  neo-Nazi group, while himself sporting a cap with the >Poland resists<  anchor symbol or a T-shirt depicting the Warsaw Uprising. I myself practice martial arts and see that this imbecile is becoming a role-model for young boys.’

– ‘The National Stadium is not a private playground but a public edifice built before the 2012 European Football Championships’ – says Rafal Pankowski, who coordinated the anti-racist campaign ‘RESPECT Diversity’, carried out by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association as part of the UEFA Euro 2012 Social Responsibility Programme. – ‘If the organizers do not change their mind, we call upon Madam Anders to immediately withdraw her support for the event.’

– ‘There is no place for discrimination in sports. It should unite people, not divide them on the basis of origin or skin colour. There must be no place for hatred. The organizers of the National Boxing Gala and the hosts of the National Stadium should think this over’ – adds Piotr Ciolkowski, a sports educator who co-leads the ‘Let’s Kick Racism out of the Stadiums’ initiative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

Witold Liliental, a Canadian-based friend and cooperator of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, says: – ‘I have some doubts as to a boxing gala being the best way of celebration of an important national anniversary. As to the idea of a known racist and white supremacist being the star of the show, I have not the slightest doubts. It is a profanation of all that I have been taught:  tolerance, respect and decency. Binkowski’s behaviour brings shame to both Poland and Canada. I wonder why some known artists agree to perform at such an event. This gala with this man must not be allowed to happen.’

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization,  founded in 1996. It conducts campaigns such as ‘Music Against Racism’, and ‘Let’s Kick Racism out of the Stadiums’. Together with the Fare network, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association coordinated anti-racist educational activities around UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland and  Ukraine.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

THE MESSAGE OF NEVER AGAIN HEARD IN NEW YORK, NEW ORLEANS, LONDON, CAMBRIDGE, WARSAW, ST. PETERSBURG, MOSCOW AND BERLIN IN JUST ONE MONTH

The month of May has been particularly intensive for the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s international work. The Warsaw-based anti-racism organization has participated in events and debates on the growth of the far right internationally.

‎In the US, ‘NEVER AGAIN’ took part in a series of meetings with its friends and partners including organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the World Jewish Congress (WJC), the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), the Museum of Jewish Heritage – a Living Monument to the Holocaust as well as US media representatives. In New Orleans, a ‘NEVER AGAIN’ representative spoke at a public event about the rise of the far right in the US and in Europe, held at Tulane University Law School.

‎- ‘Look at Charlottesville or the far-right marches in Warsaw, they have much in common. Right-wing extremism has grown on both sides of the Atlantic and we have to combat it together’ – said ‘NEVER AGAIN’s Rafal Pankowski.

In London, ‘NEVER AGAIN’ provided expertise to BBC and through the broadcast warned against discernible efforts by Polish extremist groups to recruit supporters in Britain. The topic was also discussed with the participation of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ at the UK-Poland Roundtable on Countering Hate,‎ held at the British Embassy in Warsaw.

In Cambridge (UK), Rafal Pankowski was invited by the prestigious Cambridge Union debating society to speak at a debate on the forthcoming football World Cup in Russia, including the challenges of racism and xenophobia‎.

ln the run up to the tournament, the work of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ in counteracting the scourge of racism in East European football, using sports as a tool for the promotion of intercultural dialogue and peace, was also showcased at the international workshop on ‘Rethinking Radicalisation: Frontline Perspectives’‎ held at the Centre for Youth Studies, Higher School of Economics in St.Petersburg (Russia) under the auspices of the European-wide research project Dialogue About Radicalization and Equality (DARE), led by the University of Manchester.

Also in the run-up to the World Cup, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has been a partner of the Polish Film Festival in Russia. More than 100 films are shown, including many with a human rights angle such as ‘Birds are singing in Kigali’ (by Krzysztof and Joanna Krauze) about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The Festival features meetings, film workshops, concerts and exhibitions. It started in Moscow and after that it sets out on a trail into the Russian interior and will visit cities such as Yekaterinburg, Barnaul, Novorosiysk, Tver, Rostov on Don, Krasnodar, Orenburg, Nizhny Novogrod, Great Novogrod, Great Wielkim, Torżhok, Petrozavodsk, Visokovsk and Biysk.

Rafal Pankowski, a co-founder of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ and Associate Professor at Collegium Civitas, was also invited to deliver the annual Robert Wistrich Memorial lecture on antisemitism at the Centrum Judaicum in Berlin (located at the historic New Synagogue), on the last day of the busy month. The lecture is organized by the Berlin International Centre for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA)‎.

-‎ ‘The current crisis of democratic values and the spectacular rise of antisemitism, racism and xenophobia in East-Central Europe must be noted with real concern. International solidarity is very crucial in times like this. We shall overcome’ – said the representative of ‘NEVER AGAIN’.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. The mission of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is to promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society in Poland and in the broader region of Central and Eastern Europe.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

THE 2018 WORLD CUP AND THE POSITIVE POTENTIAL OF FOOTBALL

The FIFA Football World Cup will kick off on 14 June.‎ The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has participated in several events preceding the big event.

Co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association Rafal Pankowski was invited by the prestigious Cambridge Union debating society to speak at a debate on the forthcoming World Cup in Russia, including the challenges of racism and xenophobia‎, on 10 May.

– ‘Should we boycott the World Cup in Russia?’ – asked the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ representative during the Cambridge debate. – ‘It would be a better idea to use the opportunity to promote intercultural dialogue and peace, to empower Russian civil society, the progressive fan movement and human rights groups, especially the ethnic minorities, before, during, and after the tournament. Much more should be done in this field.’

Dr Pankowski was the coordinator of the Respect Diversity – Football Unites campaign in Poland and Ukraine during UEFA Euro 2012. He has participated in the consultations on racism and xenophobia in preparation for the World Cup in Russia, organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

ln the run up to the tournament, the work of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ in counteracting the scourge of racism in East European football was also showcased at the international workshop on ‘Rethinking Radicalisation: Frontline Perspectives’‎ held at the Centre for Youth Studies, Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg (Russia) under the auspices of the European-wide research project Dialogue About Radicalization and Equality (DARE) on 22-25 May 2018. The ‎‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s presentation was entitled ‘The potential of sports events in tackling racism and xenophobia: Experiences of the Respect Diversity – Football Unites programme’.

Also in the run-up to the World Cup, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has been a partner of the Polish Film Festival in Russia. More than 100 films are shown, including a special section devoted to the social aspects of football such as Kasia Adamik’s acclaimed ‘The Offsiders’ about the Homeless World Cup.

The Festival features meetings, film workshops, concerts and exhibitions. It started in Moscow on 17-24 May. After that it sets out on a trail into the Russian interior and will visit cities such as Yekaterinburg, Barnaul, Novorosiysk, Tver, Rostov on Don, Krasnodar, Orenburg, Nizhny Novogrod, Great Novogrod, Great Wielkim, Torżhok, Petrozavodsk, Visokovsk and Biysk.

Since 1996, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has conducted the first anti-racism campaign in Eastern European football, ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of the Stadiums’ and is a founding member of the Fare network.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘MUSIC AGAINST RACISM’ STILL PLAYING – NEWS FROM THE ‘NEVER AGAIN’ ASSOCIATION

Twenty years ago the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association issued its first compilation album under the heading ‘Music Against Racism’. To mark the anniversary, the full contents of the historic release has been uploaded on YouTube .

The ‘Music Against Racism’ campaign was a brainchild of the late Marcin Kornak (1968-2014), ‘NEVER AGAIN’s founder, a poet and an activist. Inspired by the British ‘Rock Against Racism’ initiative, Marcin managed to encourage numerous Polish bands and singers to join the movement against racist violence.

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The first album in the Music Against Racism series has become a rare collectible by now. It featured tracks by top-notch Polish rock bands who donated songs dealing with the issues of hatred and intolerance. The first stellar review was published on the pages of Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s main quality daily newspaper. The campaign was subsequently ranked one of four most important musical events of the year in a poll by readers of Brum, a popular music monthly. More albums in the series followed over the years, bringing together artists of various genres, from the rapper Liroy to the folk band Trebunie-Tutki, which in itself was a statement of diversity and tolerance. Furthermore, the action was supported by UK-based Chumbawamba and Zion Train, bands known for their activism. As Marcin Kornak commented later on: ‘Many people took Music Against Racism and its message as something personal and important in their lives.’

‘MUZYKA PRZECIWKO RASIZMOWI’ CIĄGLE GRA. KULTOWA PŁYTA 20 LAT PÓŹNIEJ, 02

Jerzy Owsiak, a longtime ally of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and organizer of the annual Polish Woodstock Festival, said: ‘I think this action, Music Against Racism, is great. The role of music is so huge. There is no better way to reach people than through music. This is the best kind of education, the best kind of awareness.’

‘We could see what was going on in Poland back then, we saw the violence at gigs and thus we fully committed ourselves to Music Against Racism. It was the only music-based action which tried to raise awareness and talked about things which others failed to mention, like fascism,’ says Robert Matera of the seminal Polish band Dezerter.

Krzysztof ‘Grabaz’ Grabowski, Poland’s leading singer-songwriter declares: ‘I have always supported and I will always support NEVER AGAIN in their fight against racism and bigotry.’

Joanna Naranowicz of the punk-rock band Qulturka, closely associated with ‘NEVER AGAIN’, says: ‘It’s a great honour to play for Music Against Racism and represent its message, even more valid now than back in the day.’ The campaign’s motto is still used for concerts and festivals, while many musicians put its logo (an open white-and-black hand) on their releases. Artists and promoters who wish to join the initiative can contact the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association at redakcja@nigdywiecej.org .

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. Its mission is to promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘Music Against Racism’ – the first compilation record released by the NEVER AGAIN Association (1997):

ANTI-RACISTS FACE THE COURTS IN POLAND

A member of the anti-racist ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, Anna Tatar will have to defend herself in court because of critical statements she made about an extreme-right music festival.

The organizers of the Eagle’s Nest festival allege a criminal offence of defamation. The proceedings were commenced in the Kielce District Court and in October 2017 they were transferred to the Regional Court for Warsaw. The maximum possible punishment for the offence is a one-year prison sentence.

The case arose out of an interview which Ms Tatar gave in the mainstream internet news portal Onet.pl in 2016. She stated that ‘during The Eagle’s Nest festival fascist ideas are promoted and such events must not take place in Poland.’

Extreme-right music festival in Poland, 07.2015

The Eagle’s Nest festival has taken place in Poland annually since 2013. The participants include both Polish and foreign bands but the common thread between their repertoires is racial hatred. Some of the groups have been affiliated to the international neo-nazi network Blood and Honour. They have included All Bandits, Nordica, Stalag and Obled (previously known as Konkwista 88). The last band has a song about fighting ‘for blood and honour, for white pride and the Celtic cross.’ Similar sentiments appear in their song ‘The White Violets’ where the lyrics are: ‘We shall not allow the spoiling of our pure blood, we are the Slavic power.’ The documented responses to such songs from the festival audience include frequent Sieg Heil salutes.

Dr Anna Tatar has been a long-term co-editor of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ magazine. She authored a PhD thesis at Warsaw University in the field of Holocaust literature on the subject of ‘The Polish-Jewish relations in the works of Hanna Krall.’

The court action against Anna Tatar is not the only one. Leszek Scioch, an active member of ‘NEVER AGAIN’, also protested against the public expressions of neo-fascist ideology and has been accused of breaking the law recently. On 15 August 2017 in Warsaw he took part in a peaceful protest against the march organized by the extremist groups, All-Polish Youth (Mlodziez Wszechpolska, MW) and the National-Radical Camp (Oboz Narodowo-Radykalny, ONR). Mr Scioch was in a group of people who sat in the middle of Nowy Swiat Street in Warsaw along which the march was proceeding. The police forcibly removed them and a few weeks later he was called to the police station and charged with the offence of ‘preventing a lawful demonstration celebrating the victory of the Polish soldiers over the Red Army.’ In his opinion this description of the events is a gross misrepresentation of what happened. He pleaded ‘not-guilty’ and is now awaiting trial.

Another ‘NEVER AGAIN’ activist, Rafal Maszkowski, participated on 29 April 2017 in a protest against the demonstration commemorating the anniversary of the establishment of the fascist National-Radical Camp in 1934. The ONR members were marching on the streets of the Polish capital shouting slogans such as ‘Death to the enemies of the Fatherland’, ‘No Islam, terrorists, Muslims in our country’ and ‘The white warriors are coming.’ Mr Maszkowski joined a group of people sitting in the street and holding hands in front of the march. As he recalls: ‘the police forcibly removed us one by one and carried us to a fenced off area. However, the officers took no action against the marching fascists.’

– ‘The activities of the extreme right in Poland are getting more and more bold and ostentatious. The musical festivals and marches which they organize allegedly to celebrate various national holidays are but an umbrella for the rallies of neo-nazis from all over Europe. It is depressing to see that the anti-racist activists are facing consequences in the courts’ – said Anna Tatar.

Despite the pressure, the activities of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association do not cease or diminish. In the autumn of 2017, ‘NEVER AGAIN’ protested against the planned visit of Richard Spencer, a US ‘alt-right’ leader who had been expecting to take part in the 11 November Independence Day celebrations in Warsaw.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. The mission of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is to promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society in Poland and in the broader region of Central and Eastern Europe. It received personal endorsements from figures such as Jan Karski, Simon Wiesenthal and US President Barack Obama, among others.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

“NEVER AGAIN” RECEIVES AWARDS AMID PLETHORA OF ACTIVITIES

Co-founder of the anti-fascist “NEVER AGAIN” Association Rafal Pankowski was awarded the prestigious annual Human Rights Distinction by Poland’s Ombudsman Dr Adam Bodnar in a ceremony held in Warsaw’s Old Town on 25 September.

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The celebratory speech was delivered by Marian Turski, a Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz survivor who is Chairman of the Council for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and Deputy Chairman of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute as well as a member of the International Auschwitz Council.

– “I am honoured and grateful for the award and wish to dedicate it to the memory of Marcin Kornak, the late leader of NEVER AGAIN, my closest friend” – said Rafal Pankowski who is a Professor in Sociology at Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas. – “I remember our joint efforts tackling racism, antisemitism and the far right undertaken together with our allies Adam Bodnar and Marian Turski more than twenty years ago. Unfortunately, some of the threats to the democratic culture we signaled back in the 1990s are materializing in front of our eyes nowadays, but we must move from despair to hope.”

Coincidentally, the Australian-based Jerzy Boniecki Foundation has also decided to give its prize to Rafal Pankowski in a separate ceremony held at the Warsaw Uprising Museum on 30 September. The prize was awarded “for educational, public and cultural activity in favour of racial, ethnic and religious tolerance and for the efforts in the construction of civil society and democracy.” The candidate was nominated by Professor Jan Pakulski of the University of Tasmania.

The awards came during “NEVER AGAIN”s busy period of activity on both national and international level.

On 17-22 September, “NEVER AGAIN” member Natalia Sineaeva-Pankowska participated in the programme on “The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure” held in Lviv (Ukraine) by the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Amsterdam) in cooperation with the Center for Holocaust Studies at the Institute for Contemporary History (Munich) and the Center for Urban History of East-Central Europe (Lviv).

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On 27 September, the “NEVER AGAIN” Association, together with the History Meeting House (Warsaw) and the Heinrich Boell Foundation (Phnom Penh), co-organized a film screening and discussion on “The Khmer Rouge genocide and Cambodian society” with the participation of expert speakers from Cambodia, Germany and the USA.

On 26-27 September, Dr Anna Tatar represented “NEVER AGAIN” during the conference on “Models of Civil Society” held at the European Parliament in Brussels.

On 27 September, “NEVER AGAIN” activist Stanislaw Czerczak led the discussion on sports, tolerance and identity during the film festival “Regional Identity” organized by the Zbigniew Herbert Library and the “Europe Direct” Centre of European Information in Gorzow Wielkopolski.

On 28 September, Dr Maciej Kaluza participated on behalf of “NEVER AGAIN” in a discussion about the current rise of Islamophobia with imam Youssef Chadid, organized by the Jewish Community Centre in Krakow. In this context, Monika Bobako’s book “Islamophobia as technology of power” was published with the support of the “NEVER AGAIN” Association on 21 September.

On 29 September, Rafal Pankowski presented experiences of the “NEVER AGAIN” Association during the conference on “Promoting diversity and a discrimination free environment in host cities during and after the FIFA World Cup 2018” organized in Moscow by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Moscow City Council. He discussed the achievements and legacy of the “RESPECT Diversity” programme implemented by “NEVER AGAIN” around the Euro 2012 Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

On 1 October, Rafal Pankowski will speak at a debate entitled “How to stop xenophobia?” organized by Poland’s main daily newspaper “Gazeta Wyborcza” at the University of Warsaw as part of the Festival of Science. On the same day, through its “Music Against Racism” campaign, “NEVER AGAIN” supports the anti-racist music concert “Grand Festival Robrege” held in front of the Palace of Culture and Sciences in the Warsaw city centre, headlined by the French artist Manu Digital and the Polish reggae legend, Izrael.

“NEVER AGAIN” is an independent monitoring and educational organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It deals with the commemoration of the Holocaust as well as contemporary issues of diversity and tolerance.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

PEACE, LOVE, AND FOOTBALL AT POLISH WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL

During the biggest free festival in Europe, held on 3-5 August, representatives of “NEVER AGAIN” are carrying out educational activities focusing on the growing problem of bigotry and violence.

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At this year’s Woodstock Festival Poland, the “NEVER AGAIN” Association holds an Anti-Racist Football Championship under the slogan: “Let’s kick racism out of stadiums.” The tournament was officially opened by The Polish Civil Rights Ombudsman, Dr Adam Bodnar. The Ombudsman took part in the opening match.

The annual Woodstock Festival Poland takes place in Kostrzyn near the Polish-German border. It has been named after the legendary festival of 1969, which featured Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin and made cultural history as a symbol of the peace movement. This year, several hundred thousand people are taking part in the Woodstock Festival Poland. Performers include New Model Army (UK) and Nine Treasures, a Mongolian-Chinese band, which delivers a mix of traditional music and punk rock sound.

Logo Stow. NW, angielskie, pionowe

During the festival, “NEVER AGAIN” is hosting meetings with numerous bands involved with the “Music Against Racism” campaign, initiated by the late Marcin Kornak, the founder of the “NEVER AGAIN” Association. The musicians are drawing attention to the anti-racist message in rock music. Woodstock participants are also taking part in workshops conducted at the “NEVER AGAIN” info stand where they discuss ways of reacting to hate speech and discrimination.

Staszek Czerczak, a “NEVER AGAIN” activist, explained: “During the meetings at the festival we discuss issues such as peace in the world and in our own lives. What could be more wonderful than the idea of respect for diversity?”

This year’s Anti-Racist Football Championship was organised in partnership with the Municipal Centre for Sport and Recreation in Kostrzyn and the “Gazeta Lubuska” daily.

The “NEVER AGAIN” Association was founded by Marcin Kornak in 1996 as an independent organization that monitors xenophobic incidents and publishes the anti-racist magazine “NIGDY WIECEJ”. It also conducts educational campaigns such as “Music Against Racism” and “Let’s Kick Racism out of the Stadiums”. “NEVER AGAIN” has been personally supported by figures such as Barack Obama and recently the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

PEACE, LOVE, AND FOOTBALL AT POLISH WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL, 06