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Unveiling of Painting at Sandomierz Cathedral

An 18th-century controversial painting, depicting Jews allegedly committing ritual murder, was unveiled in the Sandomierz cathedral on Thursday16th January 2014.

In 1710, Sandomierz Jews were accused of killing a Christian child for ritual purposes. They were sentenced to death and, in 1712, were expelled from the town. Inspired by the description of these events, Karol de Prevot created the painting which was later included in the collection of decorative paintings of Christian martyrs inside the Cathedral.


After protests from various organisations, the painting was removed in 2006. However, the question of whether or not the painting should have remained has been a topic for discussion ever since. As a result of dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, an agreement has been finally reached. The painting again went on display yesterday. An explanatory plaque reads,

"By Karol de Prevot. The paintings were created from 1708 to 1737. Sandomierz Jews were accused of ritual murder in 1698 and 1710. This painting portrays a ritual murder that was allegedly committed by Sandomierz Jews in order to add the blood of the Christian child to Passover matzo. This event is not historically accurate. Moreover, it could not have happened because it is against the Jewish Law to consume blood. Therefore, Jews could not and did not perpetuate ritual murder. Due to similar accusations, Jews were often persecuted and murdered, as was the case in Sandomierz. From the 13th century onwards, Popes banned spreading such fake accusations and defended Jews against such recrimination".

Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, said, “We do not want the painting to be removed because it shows the mentality of people a few hundred years ago. Our bilateral dialogue has resulted in finding a good and wise way out”.

by Krzysztof Bielawski

English translation: WJ