I was deeply troubled by how some responded to the small gathering of "Judas beaters" in the small and remote town of Pruchnik. Too many Jewish organizations and media outlets wrote about that event as if it were definitive proof that all Poles are, as one poster wrote, "Nazi scum."
We don't talk that way about other groups. Beating Judas has been practiced far more enthusiastically in Mexico City. I did a search of scholarly publications and found Mexico City mentioned most frequently. No one is using that fact to demonize all Mexicans as "Nazi scum."
I lost two Facebook friends in these discussions. Both were older Jewish men. They both clung to the idea that Poles are *essentially* anti-Semitic monsters and anyone saying otherwise was simply a Nazi scum Polish anti-Semite in denial.
Anyway. With any other group, one would have had to traveled to the event and engaged in dialogue with participants, witnesses, and town officials.
Pruchnik has a Facebook page. The event is being discussed there. Anyone could join in that discussion. I did.
Did any of the outlets insisting that Pruchnik proves that Poles are essential Nazi scum bother to engage in dialogue with Pruchnik residents, either in person, on the Facebook page, or via Skype or other methods? Not that I could see.
Pruchnik's mayor has denounced the event, as well he should. Did any media outlets contact him? Again, didn't see it.
Below please find Pruchnik Mayor Waclaw Szkola's statement, cut and pasted from his town's webpage.
STATEMENT FROM THE MAYOR OF PRUCHNIK
In reference to the event which took place on Good Friday, called "Judgement over Judas", we would like to inform that it was neither organized, nor permitted by the local council. A small group of people prepared the event themselves without having informed any authorities.
It is a fact that in the past such an event used to take place, however, it ceased to be celebrated. In present-day reality, when Poles are attributed the responsibility for the Holocaust and collaboration with the Nazis in World War Two, events of this character may be used by the enemies of Poland as an example of alleged Polish anti-Semitism.
For dozen of years inhabitants of Pruchnik lived in harmony with the Jewish community, not infrequently hiding the Jews from the Nazis during World War Two, and our territory witnessed numerous acts of courage, devotion and heroism against the Holocaust.
I would like to express my sincere regret for this incident. Engaging children in this type of an event was downright pathetic and highly irresponsible. I perceive this as a deliberate act of provocation by certain groups of people, who - no one knows why - are not concerned with a good name of our town and our country.
I declare that all the possible actions will be taken to assure that such events will not take place in the future.
The Mayor of Pruchnik
You can also read the statement in English and Polish here