Antyk – The anti-Semitic Bookstore
Comments on Zuzanna Radzik’s text in
Tygodnik Powszechny , 30 March
FORUM, April 2003
The "Patriotic Bookstore
Antyk" is located in the basement of the Warsaw
Church of All Saints. The books sold there are damaging
to the Church and Poland. Efforts have been already
undertaken to liquidate the bookstore (all were unsuccessful
so far). Zuzanna Radzik, a freshman of theology at the
Papal Theological Department "Bobolanum",
talks in "Tygodnik Powszechny" about her efforts
to close the bookstore.
Zuzanna learned about the bookstore "Antyk"
in May 2001. She was shocked by the fact that the bookstore
sold anti-Semitic literature - also after the penance
mass at that very church dedicated to the victims of
the murder in Jedwabne. Later she heard some bitter
words about this church from a Jewish friend, who learned
about the bookstore and tried to talk to the rector
about it. Her Jewish friend accomplished nothing. This
was when Zuzanna decided to talk to the rector herself;
through intercom the rector tried to convince her that
"he should not be the censor". The conversation
ended in the same way as her Jewish friend's – with
an "amen" for a goodbye.
Later Zuzanna made four attempts at solving this matter
through the Warsaw metropolitan curia and conducted
unpleasant conversations with bishop Tadeusz Pikus.
There was no reply to a letter signed by two hundred
members of the academic priesthood of Warsaw. Zbigniew
Nosowski, the editor in chief of "Wiez", advised
Zuzanna to mail a registered letter to the curia with
a selection of quotes from the literature sold at the
bookstore. No reaction followed. Eventually editor Nosowski
called Zuzanna to express his "powerless solidarity".
In November 2002 the Polish episcopate published a letter
about dialogue stating that it was necessary to fight
hatred expressed by graffiti on walls and slogans shouted
at stadiums. The author dramatically asks: "What
should I think of people who write such a letter - and
neglect a vital issue?"
The reporter of "Rzeczpospolita" Aleksandra
Cislak, who collaborated with Zuzanna, found out that
in return for the renovation of the basement the "Antyk
Foundation" was allowed to use the basement for
five years. Zuzanna Radzik was convinced the agreement
would be extended, because its termination would have
resulted in the reimbursement of the cost of the renovation.
"Is honor really free?" - wonders Radzik.
Zuzanna sums up her story: “From the very beginning
I believed I was right: that it was simply not right
for an anti-Semitic, anti-Church, xenophobic and terrible
bookstore to operate within the basement of a church.
Of course, formally this is not a church bookstore;
hence the bishop and the rector did not see it as a
problem. However passers-by did not know about these
formal considerations, while the associations were unambiguous.
(...) In each consecutive letter to the curia I stressed
that I am doing it concerned the good name of the Church
and my fellow-brothers who were manipulated by these
publications. The fact that the sale took place under
a church gave credence to these publications. Does no
one at the curia understand this simple relationship?"
Reverend Adam Boniecki, the editor in chief of "Tygodnik
Powszechny", in his commentary to Zuzanna's text,
wrote that here we deal with two problems. The first
is the problem of a bookstore selling anti-Semitic books
the localization of which is scandalous and this undermines
the credibility of Catholics in the dialogue with Judaism.
Also, no one explained why the agreement with the bookstore
could not have been terminated. The second problem consists
in the lack of the internal communication within the
Zuzanna Radzik, Piwnice wciaz gnij± (The Basement Is
From the Web editor:
For those who understand Polish, I suggest the arti9cle
‘Sprawa ksiegarni Antyk’ in our Polish section in NOWE
PUBLIKACJE – which prompted the debate