On the night of Wednesday to Thursday (15/16 January 2020), an attack on the Polish Centre took place. About 2 a.m. someone broke a window by throwing a brick inside the building. The British Poles portal is the first of the Polish media representatives to interview the victims.
Rochdale is a city of 95,000 located about 15 kilometres from Manchester. The life of the Polish community living there concentrates around the Polish Catholic Centre and the chapel, which is located on the first floor of the same building at 365 Manchester Road. The whole building belongs to the Polish Catholic Mission.
Zbigniew Kaczmarek, President of the Council Centre tells the British Poles told to British Poles portal: “At 2 a.m., I got a phone call from a security company, to which an alarm in the centre is connected. They told me the alarm has been triggered. It was the middle of the night, but I went there to inspect. The alarm was still active and the siren was on. I entered the building and checked the motion sensors in the main room and at that moment I have noticed a brick lying on the floor and the glass of the broken window. I turned the alarm off, and I contacted the priest who was to call the police”.
“I have checked immediately the security camera, which is connected via application to my phone, but no one was visible there. However, in the place where the window was broken, it is dark, as there are no floodlights installed there. Floodlights are only near the front entrance” – Zbigniew Kaczmarek added.
Father Wojciech Świątkowski, a priest, is rather reluctant to consider the attack as racism motivated. He talked with British Poles portal just after the incident: “I called 999 and I was connected to the Rochdale police department. I reported this incident, which in my opinion could be the result of vandalism and hooliganism, as there was no theft. Is this a racial attack? I think this is too hasty a conclusion. I am rather cautious to draw such a conclusion because we have never had so far any problems or actions against the Polish community in Rochdale. Who would plan such a thing at night? The police accepted the report, but it is rather a minor incident for them”.
“The fact is, there are no bricks anywhere in the vicinity of the Centre. Therefore, someone must have brought it on purpose. But without proof, I would have hesitated to pass any judgements right now” – adds Zbigniew Kaczmarek.
And indeed, it is difficult to conclude whether the attack in Rochdale was directed against Poles, or whether it was also just an example of hooliganism, vandalism or attempted burglary. Nevertheless, this is a worrying incident. In the UK, since the announcement of the Brexit referendum, there is an increasing number of racism motivated incidents against foreigners. Representatives of the Polish community in the Islands would like to obtain some conclusive explanation concerning what the causes of the attack were.
Interviewed by: Maria Byczynski
Translation: Jolanta Pitera
Pictures: Zbigniew KaczmarekPoles in UK