Jewish Nationality Not Recognized by Minorities Treaties, Lucien Wolf Says

(J. T. A. Mail Service)

Professor Dubnow has founded some spiritual suggestions for “A New Jewish Diplomacy” on the assumption that by the Minorities Treaties the Jews have become “national minorities” in their respective countries, and that in some mysterious way their Jewish nationality has thus come to be recognized by the League of Nations, Mr. Lucien Wolf writes in a letter appearing in the “Jewish Guardian,” replying to a recent article contributed by Professor Dubnow. The exact reverse, he declares, is the case.

In 1919, he points out, the Peace Conference had before it a petition asking for the recognition of the Jews as a separate nationality, but it took no notice of it. It did not, however, limit itself to this passive attitude. When it came to draft the Minorities Treaties it recognized, probably in view of the aforesaid petition, that no doubts should be allowed to subsist as to the exact national affiliations of the Minorities dealt with in those compacts. Thus in the very first of the Treaties, the Treaty with Poland, the Minorities were throughout referred to as “Polish Nationals who belong to racial, religious, or linguistic minorities.” That is to say that however the Minorities might differ in race, religion or language from the Polish majority, their legal nationality was Polish, and only Polish, subject to certain tests laid down in Articles III. and IV. of the same Treaty. This formula, which is also a definition, was repeated mutatis mutandis in all the Minorities Treaties, and remains on record in them to this day.

Nor was this all. Before signing the Polish Treaty on behalf of his country, M. Paderewsky wished to be quite sure that he was doing nothing which would imperil the political unity of the Polish State and nation. Accordingly, he asked M. Clemenceau for further definite assurances on this head, especially in regard to the Jews. These assurances were given by the French statesman on June 24, 1919, on behalf of the Supreme Council of the Allied and Associated Powers. After a short review of the clauses of the Treaty relating to the Jews, M. Clemenceau wrote as follows, Mr. Wolf quotes:

“These clauses have been limited to the minimum which seems necessary under the circumstances of the present day, viz., the maintenance of Jewish schools and the protection of the Jews in the religious observance of their Sabbath. It is believed that these stipulations will not create any obstacle to the political unity of Poland. They do not constitute any recognition of the Jews as a separate political community within the Polish State. The educational provisions contain nothing beyond what is in fact provided in the educational institutions of many highly organized modern States. There is nothing inconsistent with the sovereignty of the State in recognizing and supporting schools in which children shall be brought up in the religious influence to which they are accustomed in their home.”

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