Written by Student Rights on 30 October 2013 at 12pm

Polish nationalist cancelled at Aberystwyth

Reports have recently emerged that Robert Winnicki, the Honorary President of Młodzież Wszechpolska (All-Polish Youth Movement), was scheduled to address an audience at Aberystwyth University on 25 October as part of a four-date speaking tour of the UK.

A nationalist organisation which has been described as “an extremist homophobic grouping” by Amnesty International, MW was responsible for attacks on gay rights marches in 2005 and 2006.

In 2010 Winnicki organised and led a demonstration in Warsaw against the EuroPride gay rights festival.

Speaking after the event, he compared his movement’s stance against homosexuality to Poland’s battle against the Teutonic Knights of Germany six hundred years previously, arguing that:

EuroPride is some kind of ideological aggression: the knights from the West want to force us to think that gayness is normal".

In addition to his stance on homosexuality, Winnicki is on record as supporting claims made by the Polish historian Krzysztof Jasiewicz, which he declared were “far from politically correct, but…are supported by historical facts”.

Jasiewicz had stated in an interview that “nonsense about Jews being killed mostly by Poles was manufactured to conceal a big Jewish secret; that the scale of the German crime was made possible by the Jews themselves, who participated in the murder of their own people”.

Following his scheduled appearance at Aberystwyth University becoming public knowledge, the university’s Student Union quickly declared itself to be in opposition to his visit.

It further clarified that the talk was being organised by a student group that was not an officially recognised students’ society, and that the event itself would not take place on university premises.

In response to Student Union president’s description of Winnicki as a “well-known right-wing Polish extremist”, the president of Polish Club Aberystwyth, the society organising his visit to the university, accused the student union of stifling free speech.

Aberystwyth University claimed it had not been made aware of the planned visit by Winnicki until two days before it was scheduled to take place and confirmed that it would:

“…be unable to host the proposed visit of Robert Winnicki as no booking for a room has been made...[and]...the University has a strong equality and diversity ethos and cannot condone any event which is perceived as a breach of such practices”.

The presence of homophobic and anti-Semitic individuals on UK campuses is of concern regardless of their religion or nationality, and here at Student Rights we are glad to see that the university acted as decisively as it did.