Narodowa Demokracja (ND)

National Democracy (ND) – a conservative and nationalist political movement established in the second half of the 19th century. Roman Dmowski was its unquestioned leader and one of its creators and ideologists. It was the nation that was of primary importance according to the ND’s ideology. Therefore the national consciousness and the national solidarity should be developed, and the national identity would be strengthened by associating it with the country’s dominant religion, the Roman Catholicism. Internationalist ideologies, such as socialism or communism, as well as all the national minorities living in Poland, especially Jews, were perceived as a threat to the nation’s cohesion. One of the consequences of such a world view was anti-Semitism. The first organisation of the modern national movement in Poland was the Polish League, founded in 1886, in 1893 transformed into the Nation’s League, and in 1897 into the National-Democratic Party. In the independent Poland the national movement clustered in the National Party, which was playing an important political part before the attempt on the life of Józef Piłsudski. In 1928 the party transformed into the National Radical Camp, which was a combination of nationalist organisations. In 1933 it was made illegal due to its aggressiveness and opposition to the Sanation. Part of the youth formed then the National Radical Camp. The National Party was struggling to make Jews leave Poland, reduce their influences in commerce, limit their access to certain jobs (lawyers) and higher education. The nationalist youth movements were organising anti-Semitic riots in universities demanding ghetto benches and numerus nullus, as well as actions of economic boycott of Jews. During WWII the National Party was active in exile and in the Polish underground, where it formed military organisations (National Armed Forces, National Military Organisation). Their guerrilla groups are suspected of fighting Polish left-winged organisations (not only communists) and killing Jews. After the war the ND activists were being imprisoned and shot by the communist authorities. In the People’s Republic of Poland there were no nationalist organisations. Nowadays the National Democracy’s ideology is invoked by the League of Polish Families.

The term was created within the framework of the project Zapisywanie świata żydowskiego w Polsce [recording the Jewish environment in Poland], whose author is Anka Grupińska, a well-known Polish journalist and writer, specializing in the modern history of the Polish Jews. The project, initiated in 2006 by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, consists in recording interviews with Polish Jews from all generations.
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