Is the Resentment Against Refugees Growing in Poland?

Rising rents and longer queues to the doctor

12 April 2022

Adam Leszczyński

Marcin Król Fellow

Underfinanced and overburdened Polish social services created a very welcome opportunity for the extreme right to capitalise on the inflow of Ukrainian refugees. Will they manage to sway Polish public opinion?

When Kirill, a 17-year old refugee from Ukraine, had his birthday, Klaudia from Ząbkowice Śląskie — a small town in southern Poland, where he was staying as a guest of her family — wanted to give him a present. The boy needed a new smartphone: the one he was using was 6 years old and had a broken screen.

So Klaudia wrote a post on a local Facebook group asking people to chip in. The cheapest new phone she found was about 100 euros. 

Then the outrage started. The discussion has — at the time of writing — almost 380 comments. A lot of them are full of hatred and spite. ‘There are also poor children in Poland and they don’t have many things…’ — wrote one woman which garnered 190 likes. ‘It starts from the phones, and soon we will pay for their houses’ — added another man. ‘THIS IS TOO MUCH, HOW YOU DARE TO ASK FOR MONEY TO BUY A NEW PHONE. (…) WE NEED TO START HELPING POLES, OUR PEOPLE. THERE ARE MANY OLDER PEOPLE IN NEED AND SICK CHILDREN’ — wrote another woman  (117 likes, all caps).

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Adam Leszczyński

Marcin Król Fellow

Marcin Król Fellow at Visegrad Insight. Journalist, sociologist and historian with an equal interest in academia as well as working as a senior writer at OKO.press, a non-profit, investigative journalist and fact-checking project, created to preserve freedom of speech and secure access to information in Poland. His main focuses are on Polish politics and history, with special emphasis on the government’s politics of memory.

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