If you search for information about Garwolin on the internet, you will find that it is a simple but attractive little town in eastern Poland, about 50km east of Warsaw. Yet 25 years ago, when I lived in Poland, Garwolin was the scene of a nasty confrontation between the forces of communist secularism and Roman Catholicism that has echoes in a landmark judgement last week by the European Court of Human Rights.
The Strasbourg-based court ruled that the display of crucifixes in Italian state school classrooms unlawfully restricted the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their beliefs. The seven judges contended that the presence of crucifixes could be “disturbing for pupils who practised other religions or were atheists”. Read more