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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Poland police probing 'I Miss You, Jew' slogan painted on Warsaw building

A polish inscription reading "I Miss You, Jew," painted as part of a campaign by Polish artist Rafal Betlejewski in 2010.

Polish authorities are investigating a slogan reading "I Miss You, Jew" that was painted on a gallery near Warsaw's Academy of Fine Arts earlier this week, with investigators unsure as of yet whether the new graffiti was meant as an anti-Semitic attack.

The 5-meter long inscription was painted on a gallery owned by Polish businessman Wojciech Fibak late Monday night, not long after the nearby art institute hosted the opening of an exhibition of photographs taken by Israeli artist Diti Ravner, who is also the wife of Israel's envoy to Poland Zvi Ravner.

Two other similar inscriptions were painted on other art-related buildings in the city on the same night.

According to a report by Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, police were called in to investigate the inscription by the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.

Ravner's exhibition was dedicated to photographs documenting what has been left of Jewish life in the Polish capital.

In 2010, Polish artist Rafal Betlejewski launched a campaign geared at painting "I Miss You, Jew" in various locations, as a way of lamenting the death of Jewish neighbors, murdered by the Nazis on Polish soil.

Later that year, on the anniversary of the slaughter of the Jews of the Jedwabne in 1941, Betlejewski burned a bran, similar to the one in which Poles burnt the town's Jews.

Betlejewski's efforts are part of a larger trend among young Poles to investigate and celebrate their Jewish past, with two such events due to take place. One is the Jewish Culture Festival, hosted by the city of Krakow and due to last between June 29 and July 8.

Krakow was also the site of another festival earlier this month, Nite@7, in which the city's seven synagogues housed several events, such as lectures on synagogue architecture and fashion shows.

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