Warsaw (Nov. 17)
The Polish Government is putting forth strenuous efforts to overcome the downward pulling forces that are keeping the Polish exchange at a low level. And, as is always the case in Poland, the government in its campaign to restore the currency to a normal state directs arrows of destruction at the Jews. Here again the Jew is made to serve as the scapegoat.
The Polish government’s method of bringing back a normal currency is to impose on the population eve heavier and heavier taxes. The peasants compose the majority of the population in Poland, but the government has put them in a privileged class, so that whereas their proportion to the rest of the population is 75 per cent, they pay only 28 per cent of the total taxes that flow into the Polish treasury. The burden of the remaining 72 per cent therefore falls on the inhabitants of the cities and matters are so arranged by the government that the Jews, who are city dwellers, are obliged to carry the brunt of the tax burden.
The tax laws in Poland call for the equal payment of taxes by all inhabitants regardless of nationality, yet when a Jewish merchant or manufacturer reports his income it is immediately doubled and tripled by the tax officials on the ground that it is impossible to trust the figures of, a Jew, while at the same time the “Christian word” of a Pole is never doubted. This brutal, cynical behavior on the part of the government toward the Jewish tax payers has gone so far that a very pessimistic, hopeless mood has arisen among the Jews and the number of Jewish merchants who are forced to give up the struggle and liquidate their business is growing from day to day.
An idea of the difficulty under which the Jewish merchants labor owing to the unjust taxes imposed upon them can be had by glancing at only a few of the mere names of the taxes which the government collects. There are taxes for conducting business, manufacturing, rent, property, income, profit, etc.
The Jewish representatives in the Sejm have interpellated the government and protested time and time again, but their efforts are in vain. There is always one and the same answer to their protests: It is done in the interests of the country.
The Polish government has carried this policy so far as to address a circular to the leaders of Jewish Kehillahs demanding that the taxes which the Jews pay toward the Kehillahs be reduced as all available money must be turned over by the Jews to the government.
Alongside of this form of oppression there still prevails in many parts of Poland the old banditry of which Jews are the victims. Most of this banditry now reigns in those territories which are inhabited largely by Ukrainians and White Russians and is really of a political nature. The Ukrainians and White Russians are waging war against the campaign of Polonization conducted by the Polish government. But here, too, the wrath of the hostile factions is vented pimarily upon the Jews. Scarcely a day passes but some act of robbery or murder is committed against the Jews in these regions.
Yet the government, knowing full well what the state of affairs is, does not make the slightest effort to protect the Jews. This is how Poland is fulfilling her pledges to the League of Nations.