Jewish leaders in Poland laud Forbes apology

Praise comes following retraction of a series of articles that accused Polish Jewish community leaders of misusing communal property.

November 21, 2013 02:15
2 minute read.
Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich in his office, November 3, 2013.

Poland's chief rabbi Michael Schudrich 370. (photo credit: Sam Sokol)

Leaders of Poland’s Jewish community praised the Polish edition of Forbes magazine this week following the retraction of a series of articles that accused them of misusing communal property.

The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODZ), the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) and Poland’s Union of Jewish Communities were all taken to task by the financial publication for alleged corrupt practices in the restitution and management of Jewish property in Poland.

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The apology for the articles published in September was published Monday on the magazine’s website.

“In particular we apologize for the publication of information suggesting the following activities: that the individuals named in the articles reaped personal benefit from the activities of Jewish organizations in Poland; that the restituted Jewish cemeteries in Torun, Gliwice and Lublin were sold contrary to the principles of Jewish tradition; and that there was no settling of accounts of the funds allocated for the preservation of Jewish heritage,” the editorial staff of Forbes and its publisher, Ringier Axel Springer, said in the statement.

After the Jewish community threatened to sue Forbes decided to publish an apology and corrections in order to avoid said suit.

American-born Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, whom Forbes termed the “perfect rabbi to foster corruption,” celebrated the retraction, of which he had been notified in advance.

“The original article was very painful and distorted,” Schudrich said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday evening.

He said the restriction reflected “the highest standards of journalism.

“The media has a responsibility to investigate and media even has a responsibility to investigate itself.”

Piotr Kadlcik, the president of the Union of Jewish Communities, who was described in the article as something of a lush, told the Post that after the publication of the article he had a “very hard time…on a purely personal level.”

“The lack of proper fact-finding and accusations published in a worldwide respected paper was simply shocking,” he said.

“I am glad that after presenting them with evidence they were mentshlekh [ethical] enough to apologize and retract.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder, who also heads the WJRO, told the Post through a spokesman that he was happy that the magazine apologized for what he called “its unwarranted personal attacks and the jumbling of facts.”

“Forbes has done the right thing and I consider that matter now closed,” Lauder stated.

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