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Warsaw. Attempted to set fire to the synagogue. A teenager was arrested. What did he tell the police?

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He didn't say a word, he didn't want to reveal his motives, he was completely surprised to see us – says the spokesman for the downtown police about the detention of a 16-year-old in connection with an attempt to set fire to the Nożyk synagogue in Warsaw. His fate will be decided by the family court.

The teenager was detained on Wednesday evening in Bemowo. On Thursday morning, a spokesman for the downtown police revealed more details. He assured that the officers started working on the case “from the first minutes” after the event.

– We wanted to prevent possible similar cases in Warsaw. We detained a 16-year-old boy in an apartment in Bemowo, he had no previous convictions. Arrest operations are ongoing. Today (Thursday – ed.) we will send materials to the prosecutor's office with a request to initiate an investigation under Article 163 of the Penal Code – said Robert Szumiata, press spokesman for the Warsaw Police Commander.

– We detained the man on the same day when the incident occurred. He didn't say a word and didn't want to reveal his motives. In our opinion, this is an incident committed by this young man – added Szumiata.

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The detained 16-year-old faces up to 10 years in prison. – The court will decide his fate. He is in the police children's shelter at Wiśniowa Street – added Szumiata.

Night attempt to set fire to the synagogue

On Wednesday night, there was an attempt to set fire to the Nożyk synagogue in Warsaw's Śródmieście district. The so-called a Molotov cocktail that crashed against the facade of the building, close to one of the windows. The fire was quickly extinguished. This act was condemned by, among others, President Andrzej Duda and the authorities of Warsaw.

On Wednesday evening, the deputy head of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, Czesław Mroczek, announced on social media that the police had detained one person. The police then announced that police officers “in cooperation with the Internal Security Agency, detained a 16-year-old man, a Polish citizen, in connection with the event that took place tonight on the premises of the synagogue at Twarda Street in Warsaw.”

“They tried to burn down Jewish-Polish relations”

On the same day, at a joint press conference on Wednesday, appeared, among others: Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich and Israeli Ambassador Yakov Liwne. Schudrich stated that if the Molotov cocktail had hit a dozen or so centimeters more to the left, it could have caused a fire in the library, which is located next to the mentioned window. Liwne said that those who wanted to set fire to the building “were trying to burn down Jewish-Polish relations, and we cannot allow them to make this act effective.”

The attack was also condemned “on behalf of President Joe Biden” by US ambassador Mark Brzezinski.

The only synagogue of its kind in Warsaw

The Nożyk Synagogue at 6 Twarda Street (near Grzybowski Square) is the only preserved and functioning pre-war synagogue in Warsaw. The building has been undergoing renovations since 2008, including: the roof covering was replaced and the damaged wooden structure was repaired.

Main photo source: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

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