Every year on a winter weekend, droves of volunteers fill Polish streets collecting money for the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, in addition to countless online auctions.This year was the fundraiser’s 27th, and it had brought in $25 million as of Monday, and has raised more than $260 million (1 billion Polish zlotys) over the years. Those who donate receive special heart-shaped stickers, which people traditionally put on their winter jackets. At the end of the drive, many Polish cities celebrate with a concert and a customary light show at 8pm local time. The stabbing occurred during the culminating event.

Several days before the attack, a Polish-state-run TV station broadcast a claymation clip of Warsaw’s recent former mayor, a member of the Civic Platform, creating an Owsiak-shaped puppet. The Owsiak puppet then goes around collecting money in giant sacks. Some of the bills are emblazoned with a star of David (link in Polish), an anti-Semitic dogwhistle. The head of the government news agency later tweeted that anti-Semitism had no place on the air of the station and that “there would be serious consequences” for those responsible. On Jan. 14, Owsiak announced he’d be stepping down as the head of the foundation. “Maybe those who got in Poland unbelievable, permissible leeway to act like this, will chill out,” said Owsiak (link in Polish), who is known for using slang and colloquialisms.

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