All-Polish Youth

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The All-Polish Youth (Polish: Młodzież Wszechpolska) is a Polish youth organization based on nationalistic doctrines, formerly affiliated with the League of Polish Families, with a Catholic-National philosophy. Its agenda declares that its aim is to raise Polish youth in a Catholic and patriotic spirit.

Its manifesto from 1989 states, for example, that "one's country is the greatest earthly good. After God, your foremost love belongs to the Homeland, and foremost after God you must serve your own country," and declares itself opposed to "doctrines promoting liberalism, tolerance, and relativism. The earliest roots of Polish Youth reach back to 1922, the organisation was delegalised in 1934 and the present incarnation was created on December 2, 1989. Polish Youth was affiliated with the League of Polish Families, but was never officially its youth wing.[1]

In recent years, All-Polish Youth have been widely condemned as homophobic by various organisations including Amnesty International,[2] Human Rights Watch,[3] and the United Nations.[4]

Pre-war All-Polish Youth[edit]

The organisation, properly the Academic Union "All-Polish Youth" (Związek Akademicki "Młodzież Wszechpolska"), was founded in 1922 as an ideological youth organisation with a strong nationalist sentiment,[5] and was the largest student organisation in the Second Polish Republic. The Founding Convention of the All-Polish youth took place in March 1922, with Roman Dmowski being selected honorary chairman.

The term "All-Polish" is intended to represent a desire to unify all Polish lands, and accentuate national ties and the equality of all people of Polish origin regardless of their wealth or social status. The idea for creating the organization occurred when Poland was partitioned and not officially on the world map, therefore it aimed to unite Poles from all three partitions. In the inter-war period, members of the organisation participated actively in academic life, and became the heads of many student organisations. The All-Polish Youth was the largest student organization in Poland during the 1930s. The goals of the organization were mainly focused on three issues:[6]

  1. Defending the autonomy of universities against centralising forces of the government
  2. Campaigning for lower tuition fees
  3. Limitation of non-Polish, especially Jewish students, from higher education to prevent exclusion of Polish students from the countryside

All-Polish Youth was the least radical of organizations of the National Democracy camp.[7] Nevertheless, some of its members praised Mussolini and his Italian fascism for its hardline stances towards the left and realisation of "national revolution".[8] Part of the members, including Jędrzej Giertych, also praised Hitler's Germany[9] economical changes, but understood that it is with the contradiction with Polish national interests and changed his views a year after NSDAP obtained power in Germany.[10] Most leaders of the All-Polish Youth criticized Hitler for racism and radicalism. According to Jan Mosdorf, a pre-war chairman of All-Polish Youth who died in Auschwitz for saving Jews, the organization was against fascists and Hitlerites.[11] Some Members of the All-Polish Youth also praised authoritarian regimes of the Mediterranean, Salazar's Portugal and Franco's Spain.[citation needed]

They also favoured economically boycotting the Jews, limiting their access to higher education (numerus clausus)[12] in order to equal the chance of children from countryside families who had very limited access to education to the chance of the children of Jewish families living in the towns and cities.[13] The All-Polish Youth also actively campaigned for ghetto benches, segregated seating for Jewish students [14]

Modern days[edit]

All-Polish Youth in Kraków, 2009

The modern incarnation of the All-Polish Youth was founded in Poznań in 1989, on the initiative of Roman Giertych, the former leader of the League of Polish Families (LPR). Continuing the tradition of its precursors, the organisation maintains its aim of raising youth with their ideology, and operates across all of Poland, working with high-school and university students. The membership of the organisation is approximately 3,000 people.[citation needed]

In 2006, the Polish Public Prosecutor's office launched an investigation after a video recording from a private party was leaked to the Polish press. It was considered that All-Polish Youth members including Leokadia Wiącek, a personal assistant of Maciej Giertych (member of the European Parliament), were seen fraternizing with Neo-Nazi skinheads, listening to Neo-Nazi bands, and saluting the swastika.[15][16][17] Following the incident, Leokadia Wiącek was expelled from All-Polish Youth,[18] and the League of Polish Families cut ties with the group.[19] As it was later determined, during the private party Leokodia Wącek was not a member of the organisation and the main Polish television channel Telewizja Polska apologized to All-Polish Youth for accusing them of neo-nazi connotations.[20]

All-Polish Youth have declared that it is only by making Poland a Catholic state that its future will be secured, and chairman Konrad Bonisławski has stated "We do not want to become like Holland with its free drugs and gay marriage. Since joining the European Union we have seen attempts to destroy our Catholic values."[21]

All-Polish Youth have gained considerable press coverage due to their staunch opposition of abortion and, particularly, homosexuality (which their website condemns as "unnatural behaviour" and describes Gay Rights marches as "militant homosexualism").[22] This has led to (sometimes violent) clashes with Pro-choice and Gay Rights demonstrators.

All-Polish Youth have been widely condemned as homophobic by various organisations including Amnesty International,[2] Human Rights Watch,[3] and even the United Nations (which, in their Universal Periodic Review, describes All-Polish Youth as an "extremist homophobic grouping"),[4] as well as a multitude of Gay Rights organisations such as OutRage! and the Polish Campaign Against Homophobia. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, All-Polish Youth members and sympathizers violently attacked people who were taking part in pro-gay demonstrations, throwing eggs, bottles and rocks at them,[23][24] and were reported to have shouted "Send the fags to the hospital", "Perverts, get out of Kraków", "Let's gas the fags" and "We'll do to you what Hitler did to the Jews".[3]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/Wiadomosci/1,80708,4615980.html
  2. ^ a b Amnesty International Report 2006 - Poland (archived by UNHRC, United Nations Refugee Agency)
  3. ^ a b c Human Rights Watch (Scott Long)
  4. ^ a b UN Human Rights Council - Universal Periodic Review, Annual Report 2005 (page 6)
  5. ^ Wapiński 1980, 238.
  6. ^ Kulińska 2000, 36-37.
  7. ^ Jacek Misztal, “Związek Akademicki Młodzież Wszechpolska 1922-1939, p. 164.″
  8. ^ Wapiński 1980, 243-244.
  9. ^ Wapiński 1980, 317.
  10. ^ Jacek Misztal, “Związek Akademicki Młodzież Wszechpolska 1922-1939, p. 94.″
  11. ^ Mateusz Kotas, "Jan Mosdorf. Filozof, ideolog, polityk, p. 45."
  12. ^ Wapiński 1980, 239.
  13. ^ Jacek Misztal, “Związek Akademicki Młodzież Wszechpolska 1922-1939, p. 23″
  14. ^ Joanna Beata Michlic, Poland's Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present, University of Nebraska Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8032-3240-3, p. 113.
  15. ^ Warsaw Voice - LPR Ditches All-Polish Youth
  16. ^ EJP | News | Eastern Europe | ‘All-Polish Youth’ Nazi movie generates controversy
  17. ^ http://www.dziennik.pl/polityka/article13074/Nazistowskie_wybryki_Mlodziezy_Wszechpolskiej.html
  18. ^ http://wiadomosci.wp.pl/kat,1342,wid,8625569,wiadomosc.html?ticaid=17530
  19. ^ Warsaw Voice - LPR Ditches All-Polish Youth (20 Dec 2006)
  20. ^ TVP Polish Television Evening News (02 Aug 2007)
  21. ^ Daily Telegraph - Ghetto survivor warns of Polish 'fascism' (24 June 2006)
  22. ^ All-Polish Youth website - Demonstration March 2007
  23. ^ BBC News Report, 28 April 2006
  24. ^ Human Rights Watch (Scott Long) 14 Feb 2006

References[edit]

External links[edit]