1946: Proof – if proof were needed – that anti-Semitism survived the demise of the Third Reich came on 4 July at Kielce in Poland. From morning until evening, the town was the scene of Europe’s largest peacetime pogrom of the 20th century.
One of the 40 or so killings was witnessed by a student named Suszko. In the early afternoon, as he made his way to the railway station, he came to a patch of open land beside a creek, where “a thin crowd surrounded a Jew, a 20-some-year-old man, who was bleeding profusely. I remember that he had a vest and a white shirt, and he wasn’t screaming or moving anymore. With head hanging low he was just standing in the middle of that creek, in the water, surrounded by a crowd that was stoning him. They were throwing stones in a somehow detached, leisurely manner – a stone would fly, people saw whether the man fell, then somebody else would throw a stone.”
All the while, people were busily chatting, sharing their impressions, remarking on the way this or that stone struck the Jew.
“After several hours of these events, people were tired but in spite of everything they were lifting stones and throwing them calmly, as if the death of a human being, killing of a person, were not at stake.”
Source: Jan T. Gross, Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz (2006), pp. 103–4, quoting testimony collected by Marcel Łoziński