updated 12/13/2006 12:29:03 PM ET 2006-12-13T17:29:03

A Polish political party is severing all ties with its youth wing after members were alleged to have burned swastika torches and given Nazi-style salutes.

Krzysztof Bosak, a member of parliament for the right-wing League of Polish Families, told reporters on Wednesday he had decided to step down as chairman of the party’s junior branch, All Poland Youth.

On Tuesday League head Roman Giertych announced his party, a junior member of the ruling coalition, was breaking its political links with the youth wing. Giertych, a lawyer, had reactivated the organization in 1989.

“It seems impossible for me to continue to do my work in public life in two roles: a parliamentary deputy and chairman of All Poland Youth,” Bosak was quoted by PAP news agency as saying.

All Poland Youth has denied any connection to the scenes in photographs published by a newspaper in November. These prompted calls for the conservative party of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski to throw Giertych and his party out of the government.

Bosak said it was impossible for All Poland Youth, which has branches nationwide, to screen every member.

“We are not intelligence officers,” he said. “We can’t verify the past of everyone.”

Prosecutors are investigating the case. Promotion of fascism is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison in Poland which suffered heavily at the hands of the Nazis in World War Two.

All Poland Youth’s roots go back to the 1920s when its members attacked Jewish students and called for them to be banned from public universities.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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