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By On August 21, 2018

Future Is Bright for Poland, Says EPP CEO Dean

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Source: Google News Poland | Netizen 24 Poland

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By On August 21, 2018

Ukrainian Rights Activist Says Poland Has Barred Her From Travel In EU

Poland has leveraged its authority as a European Union member to ban a Ukrainian human rights activist from the EU's 26-member Schengen zone, saying she poses a security threat.

The activist, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, the head of the Open Dialog Foundation, and her Polish husband Bartosz Kramek told media on August 20 that they consider the move punishment for their open opposition to Poland's current government.

Kozlovska told AFP she is under "intense pressure," describing how her blacklisting by Polish security agencies prompted Belgian authorities to deport her to Kyiv last week after her arrival at Belgium's airport.

"The [Polish] foreign ministry wanted to change the management of our organization and to exclude me. They didn't succeed, and so they decided to physically remove me from EU territory."

Kozlovska, whose organization has offices in Warsaw, Brussels, and Kyiv, said her group's work has largely focused on promoting democracy in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Moldova.

The organization has also lobbied the EU to place sanctions on people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Since Poland's nationalist Law and Justice party came to power in 2015 and began reshaping the country's judiciary, the activist couple has also accused the Warsaw government of violating the rule of law.

Since making those accusations, Kozlovska said she has faced political pressure, with some ruling-party members and online trolls accusing her of ties to Russia.

"There is a smear campaign against us," she told the Associated Press. "If I am a Russian agent, why would I put people around Putin on a sanctions list? It's nonsense that I am some kind of agent."

On August 20, Poland's Internal Security Agency said its counterintelligence d epartment has "serious doubts" about the financing of Kozlovska's foundation and said the EU travel ban resulted from the agency denying her application for a long-term residency permit.

Kozlovska was stopped on August 13 at the Brussels Zaventem airport after arriving from Kyiv, held overnight, and put on an early flight back to Kyiv the next morning.

Belgian authorities acted after Poland entered her in the Schengen Information System, a database aimed at ensuring security in Europe's passport-free Schengen Area.

The move not only prevents Kozlovska, 33, from traveling within the EU, it effectively forces her and Kramek, 32, to either live apart or for him to leave Poland.

They said they believe the Polish-requested travel ban is related to an open manifesto that Kramek published last year calling for civil disobedience against the government.

In his appeal, he wrote: "Mere protests and appeals are not enough; extraord inary and resolute actions based on the idea of civil disobedience must be taken immediately. Nobody wants Maidan or bloodshed in Poland, but the escalating tension makes us take almost any unimaginable scenario into account -- and be prepared for it."

Kramek said that was a reference to his support for the Euromaidan, a wave of pro-Western demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine that began in 2013 and led to the ouster of then-President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to exile in Russia in 2014.

"I didn't call for any violence," Kramek told AP. "I was trying to explain that the Maidan was a peaceful revolution and that nobody was violent until the government tried to suppress the protesters using extreme violence."

Artur Lompart, director of the Foreign Ministry's press office, told the Associated Press in a written statement that names are put on the Schengen system "for reasons of defense, national security, or public or der."

"The claims made by Mr. Kramek and his spouse that the refusal of entry into Schengen area for Ms. Kozlovska was a result of their antigovernment activities are hugely exaggerated," he said.

"Mr. Kramek openly publishes antigovernment texts, and he often actively participates in antigovernment manifestations or protests. Poland is a democratic country where there is a full freedom of opinion and expression of political views."

Many democracy activists nevertheless fear that the move is part of an effort to discredit opposition to the government after three years of frequent street protests.

Michal Szczerba, an opposition lawmaker, said Poland's authorities "are behaving like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkey."

Poland has absorbed nearly 2 million Ukrainians in recent years, and Olena Babakova, a Ukrainian freelance journalist based in Warsaw, said the government is sending a message to the Ukrainian commun ity there through its treatment of Kozlovska.

"This is a warning for all foreigners who think that Poland is their home and that they can take an active part in public life," she said.

With reporting by AP and AFP
Source: Google News Poland | Netizen 24 Poland

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By On August 21, 2018

Anonymous benefactor restores Jewish cemetery in Poland

WARSAW â€" An anonymous Polish entrepreneur has spent hundreds of thousands of zlotys to restore the Jewish cemetery of Å»ywiec, a small central Polish town of 32,000 residents.
The cemetery had fallen into ruin following World War II and was among several under the care of the Jewish community of Bielsko-Biala, which has only several dozen members, Wyborcza.pl reported.

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The community, which maintains responsibility for a dozen such cemeteries, was unable to pay for the upkeep of the 19th-century graveyard, which was overgrown with weeds.
The philanthropist, who asked to remain anonymous, expects the the work to be completed by September. He hired 10 workers to repair the fence and restore tombstones, many of which had toppled. Some weigh several hundred pounds.
“This man is a great Pole. To say ‘thank you’ is not enough,” said Dorota Wiewiora, chairman of the Bielsko-Biala Jewish community.
Eastern and Central Europe are dotted with crumbling Jewish cemeteries and untended mass graves. Last month a memorial to the Holocaust victims in the central Polish town of Plock was found vandalized, and swastikas were painted on the fence of its Jewish cemetery. The following day, Plock residents gathered to clean up the cemetery, which also was filled with garbage and overgrowth, and paint over the anti-Semitic graffiti.
The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland has said that many cemeteries are neglected, “without any marking, without fences and even without gravestones,” Haaretz reported.
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Last December, Jewish corpses were dug up and discarded by Polish workers building an electrical substation in what the country’s chief rabbi called “a full-out scandal.”
More recently, a rabbi from Washington, D.C., said he and his children encountered trash and bone fragments scattered around the grounds of two former mass graves of Jews in Ukraine.
Source: Google News Poland | Netizen 24 Poland

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By On August 20, 2018

Traffic stop turns into manhunt in Poland

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Poland police deciding charges for man chased through village
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Christopher Ramey, charged with failure to comply, resisting arrest, obstructing official business and driving under suspension in Poland.

POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) - Police in Poland arrested a Conneaut man after they say he led officers on a chase and manhunt Sunday night.

Christopher Ramey, 28, is charged with failure to comply, resisting arrest, obstructing official business and driving under suspension.

Officers pulled Ramey over but said he jumped out of his car and ran into a wooded area off of North Main Street.

A passenger told police that before running, Ramey told him, "My driver's license is suspended and I do not want to go to jail. I will call you in a few days when everything blows over."

The passenger said he didn't know Ramey and that he met him a few hours earli er on a dating app, according to a police report.

Several units were called to the area to look for Ramey, but they couldn't find him.

He was later found at the Shell gas station at the corner of Sheridan Road and Main Street, where he was detained at gunpoint.

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By On August 20, 2018

Anonymous entrepreneur restores Jewish cemetery in Poland

The Jewish cemetery of Żywiec, Poland, in 2007. (Adam Midor/Wikimedia Commons via JTA)The Jewish cemetery of Żywiec, Poland, in 2007. (Adam Midor/Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

WARSAW, Poland â€" An anonymous Polish entrepreneur has spent hundreds of thousands of zlotys to restore the Jewish cemetery of Å»ywiec, a small central Polish town of 32,000 residents.

The cemetery had fallen into ruin following World War II, and was among several under the care of the Jewish community of Bielsko-Biała, which has only a few dozen members, Wyborcza.pl reported.

The community, which maintains responsibility for a dozen such cemeteries, was unable to pay fo r the upkeep of the 19th-century graveyard, which was overgrown with weeds.

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The philanthropist, who asked to remain anonymous, expects the the work to be completed by September. He hired 10 workers to repair the fence and restore tombstones, many of which had toppled. Some weigh more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds).

“This man is a great Pole. To say ‘thank you’ is not enough,” said Dorota Wiewióra, chairman of the Bielsko-Biała Jewish community.

Eastern and Central Europe are dotted with crumbling Jewish cemeteries and untended mass graves. Last month a memorial to the Holocaust victims in the central Polish town of Plock was found vandalized, and swastikas were painted on the fence of its Jewish cemetery. The following day, Plock residents gathered to clean up the cemetery, which also was filled with garbage and overgrowth, and paint over the anti-Semitic graffiti.

The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland has said that many cemeteries are neglected, “without any marking, without fences and even without gravestones,” Haaretz reported.

Last December, Jewish corpses were dug up and discarded by Polish workers building an electrical substation in what the country’s chief rabbi called “a full-out scandal.”

More recently, a rabbi from Washington, DC, said he and his children encountered trash and bone fragments scattered around the grounds of two former mass graves of Jews in Ukraine.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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  • Jewish Times
  • Poland
  • Jews in Poland
  • Jewish cemeter ies
  • Jewish philanthropy
Source: Google News Poland | Netizen 24 Poland