A POLISH BISHOP who spent six years in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau during World War II last week visited several hospitalized victims of an attack on a Rome synagogue.
The former Dachau prisoner, Bishop Kazimierz Majdanski of Szczecin-Kamien, Poland, was accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Bronislaw Dabrowski of Warsaw, secretary of the Polish Bishops' Conference, who was held for two years in a Nazi labour camp, and Fr Stanislas Jezierski, a priest of the Archdiocese of Poznan, Poland, who spent four years at Dachau.
As former detainees, we are particularly sensitive to the sufferings of the Jewish people and we see in the recent attack the same inspiration that guided the Nazi persecution," said Bishop Majdanski in a talk to Rabbi Vittorio Della Rocca, assistant to Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff of Rome.
The synagogue attack, in which two-year-old Stefano Tache died and another 34 people were injured, took place on October 9 at the end of a ceremony marking the Jewish new year. Hand grenades were thrown into the synagogue and submachine guns fired on the crowd leaving the synagogue.
"We who suffered with the Jews what was an irreparable wrong are profoundly affected by this horrible attack," said Bishop Majdanski. "The death of little Stefano is a poignant reminder of all the victims of the
The bishop recalled Pope John Paul's visit to the site of the concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland, three years ago, and expressed "in the name of the Polish episcopacy and all Polish believers . . the most firm condemnation of all
manifestations of antiSemitism."
The Polish bishops were in Rome for the canonization of Fr Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan priest killed at Auschwitz, and for meetings at the Vatican with Pope John Paul.
Rabbi Della Rocca thanked the Polish delegation for their visit, saying that "there is no one who can express in a more tangible way solidarity for the horrible attack than those who were interned in the concentration camps."
After the synagogue attack, Jews in Rome and Israel criticized Italian President Sandro Pertini and Pope John Paul for their meetings in September with Yassar Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization.