Polish Senator Grzegorz Bierecki talks to reporters in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, April 11, 2019. Critics of Poland’s right-wing ruling party are voicing outrage after one of its senators said Poland should be “purged” of those “not worthy of belonging to our national community.” They say the language Grzegorz Bierecki used recalled that of fascist politicians of the 1930s. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Polish senator says nation should be 'purged' of unworthy

April 11, 2019 - 6:14 am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Critics of Poland's right-wing ruling party voiced outrage Thursday after one of its senators said Poland should be "purged" of those "not worthy of belonging to our national community."

They said the language that Grzegorz Bierecki used had echoes with fascist politicians of the 1930s. He says his comments have been misunderstood and refuses to apologize.

Whatever his intention, the language used by Bierecki is a reflection of how socially exclusive language has been increasingly used by politicians in recent years across Europe and beyond.

Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski, a member of the ruling Law and Justice party, said on Twitter that the comment was "stupid and irresponsible, giving fuel to our opponents" and added: "I hope there will be reflection and an apology."

Bierecki said that his words were taken out of context and that he would not apologize, according to a report by the private radio station RFM FM. The speaker of the Senate, Stanislaw Karczewski, said he agreed that the words were taken out of context.

Lech Walesa, the anti-communist leader and former president, was among those speaking out Thursday. A critic of Poland's current government, Walesa called Bierecki's words "scandalous" and said parliamentary leaders and other state institutions responsible for guarding civil rights "should take appropriate disciplinary and legal steps."

Bierecki made his comment on Wednesday during a ceremony in his constituency of Biala Podlaska, in eastern Poland, on the 9th anniversary of a plane crash that killed the Polish president and 95 others.

"We will not stop until we have fully purged Poland of people who are not worthy of belonging to our national community," Bierecki said.

Bierecki said that those who he said deserve exclusion were those who showed disrespect to the memory of the plane crash victims.

The words sparked criticism and debate on social media, some comparing it to language used by Nazi German leaders in the 1930s.

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