Paris (Aug. 10)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)
Oscar Grouzenberg, well-known Russian Jewish jurist, summarized his impressions of a recent tour of Lithuania, in an interview with the representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here.
“The Lithuanian masses, contrary to the information of some political adventurers, do not know what it is to be intolerant toward the minorities that live side by side with them,” Mr. Grouzenberg stated. “A Jewish physician, attorney, merchant, manufacturer or artisan cannot complain that the Lithuanian Christian population boycotts him. Nor do the Lithuanian intellectuals who, for the most part, originate from the people, deserve, with few exceptions, to be charged with intolerance and national isolation. This is fair, particularly as far as the population that belongs to the peasant workers is concerned. The leaders of this last party: the First Minister of the Government, Mr. Sluzevitch and the President of the Republic, Dr. Grunius, have proven by their lives and activity that the democratic principles are for them an expression of their conscience and not a means of electoral struggle.
“I remember a letter from M. Sluzevitsch which was addressed to me two years ago and in which, in connection with a social question, in spite of the unfavorable political tendencies of this period, with a youthful faith, he foretold the coming victory of the Lithuanian democracy. His prediction proved true, for he and his comrades have fought energetically for it,” Mr. Grouzenberg stated.
M. Sluzevitch and his collaborators are not demagogues and declamers, but men of creative work who are capable of holding power between their hands and to impose power on others.
“I believe it would not be indiscreet on my part, if I quote here some lines of a letter from Mr. Sluzevitch which I have just received. This letter characterizes the noble nature of the President of the present government of Lithuania. The following is what he writes:
“You, my very worthy and dear colleague who, during your entire life, have fought for a better future of your people and humanity, you understand better than anyone else the joyous sentiments of every Lithuanian democrat who loves his country sincerely and who has given a part of his soul to the fight of the Lithuanian democracy against the clerical reaction. Evidently, each of us is happy every time that a democracy carries away victory over reaction no matter in what country. But our victory against reaction is a victory of a young people which is being born to a new life of independence. Lithuania will be independent only in case that it will be perfectly democratic and if it will be a real mother and not a “step mother” to all the nationalities that live there, without distinction of creed and language.
“The task of our young democracy is not easy; reaction is strong and is not too delicate in the means it uses But, I have full confidence in the victory of right, and justice; confidence in the victory of young democracy in Lithuania; confidence that even the smallest people have the right to be independent. This confidence strengthens me and encourages me in my difficult task which is full of responsibility.
“These are the sentiments and thoughts with which the new Lithuanian Government commences its political activity, being supported by all that is progressive and devoted to democracy in the country. This Government does not fear temporary economic difficulties; it does not fear, because among all the natural resources of Lithuania, there is one, the richest, that is the callous hands of the people, habituated to obstinate labor. These callous hands will repay all the credits that will be given them and, if through some hostile intrigue, these credits are refused, it can do without them.”