Poland’s Pride and Modernity (Duma i Nowoczesność) organisation celebrated Hitler’s birth anniversary in south-western Poland. A local television report showed the group setting up an altar in honour of the German Nazi leader, as well as a wooden swastika and people using the Hitler salute “Sieg Heil” and sharing in a Nazi German flag cake.

In response, Krzysztof Łapiński, the Polish president’s spokesman, said: “Being a Polish patriot is incompatible with glorifying Adolf Hitler, who wanted to destroy Poland and Poles.”

As reported by Radio Poland online, Polish special services coordinator Mariusz Kamiński promised Polish authorities would react “quickly and strongly”. He said “the glorification of Nazis and Hitler in independent, free and democratic Poland is unacceptable”.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the neo-Nazis “trampled the memory” of Polish ancestors.

In related news, the Associated Press (AP) noted that Grzegorz Schetyna, leader of Civic Platform, the largest opposition party in parliament, called for the neo-Nazi group to be criminalised. He also accused the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party of having allowed extremism to grow. In one example, he faulted the government for abolishing a special government office aimed at fighting discrimination and racism soon after it took power in late 2015.

In an interview with AP, Rafal Pankowski, who heads Never Again, an organisation that monitors and fights extremism, said “the far right has felt emboldened in the last two years, which has been expressed in many street marches and racist attacks”.

“It’s time for Polish leaders to condemn xenophobia and take concrete steps against it,” he added.