Harbin (Dec. 14)
(By Our Harbin Correspondent)
Anti-Semitism in a place where the people know nothing about the Jewish problem and have no anti-Jewish feelings, that is the strange namoly presented by Harbin, Manchuria, where there is one of the largest Jewish communities of the Far East.
Harbin is governed by the Chinese who certainly have never been known to harbor any anti-Semitic sentiments. But it is the ghost of the late Czar Nicholas which has invaded Harbin in the form of Russian monarchistic emigres that is responsible for the anti-Semitic attitude of the Harbin government. These Russian monarchists and bitter Jew haters, having found refuge here, have managed to secure important posts in the government and have introduced their own spirit in the midst of a people that would otherwise never have dreamed of persecuting the Jews. As a result the Chinese authorities in Harbin have prohibited the use of the Yiddish language at public meetings, entertainments or any other affairs. This restrictive measure has been in force since 1922, but it has been applied with particular rigour during the past year.
A month ago the Jewish amateur dramatic club of Harbin “Kunst,” filed a petition for permission to present a Yiddish play, but, despite every effort on the part of the Jews, the permit was denied by the government. Only two of the many Jewish organizations that applied for permits for Chanukah entertainments of various kinds were successful. These were the synagogue which has a choir and the Talmud Torah for the homeless children, which likewise has its own synagogue. The permits for these organizations were granted on condition that only the religious ceremony of lighting the Chanukah candles be performed. The rabbi had to deliver his sermon in the Russian language. But the Talmud Torah children succeeded somehow in staging a Hebrew play and several Yiddish recitations without interference by the police.
In view of the fact that the Jewish community of Harbin is since the war one of the largest in the Far East the restriction on Yiddish constitutes a serious problem. No language restriction exists in regard to the other nationalities present here, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, etc., who enjoy extra-territorial rights and use their own languages very freely at meetings and various public functions.
It must be noted that no restrictions on the Yiddish language are known of in any other parts of China. Obviously this is due to the fact that no-where have the Russian monarchist emigres succeeded in entrenching themselves in government positions as they have in Harbin. The numerous former Czaristic officials and leaders of the Black Hundred who have been entrusted here with police and governmental authority are keeping the Chinese authorities of Harbin in constant dread by holding up the “Communist bogey” and the worn out lie that all Jews are Communists and every Jewish meeting is a Communist propaganda affair.
According to the last treaty between the Soviet government and China all former Russian monarchists who hold public office in China were to be discharged. But the Russians made use of a point in the law relating to Chinese citizenship, which is very easily obtainable, and thus entrenched themselves again in their positions as citizens of China.
Plans for raising Toledo, Ohio’s quota of the $5,000,000 United Palestine Appeal were discussed at a meeting held Monday night in the Jewish Educational League building.
All Jewish organizations of the city sent three representatives to the conference. Toledo’s quota of the fund is to be assigned shortly.