Trade Depression Grows Among Jewish Merchants in Lithuania

Of the 751 shops which operated on the fourteen principal streets of Vilna last year, 164 have now been compelled to liquidate.

The number of commercial licenses issued since 1924 has greatly fallen off. The depression in trade which chiefly affects the Jewish merchants is due to the growing distress among the peasantry whose poverty is described as inconceivable. While in 1924, the municipality issued 47 first-class licenses; 1,085, second-class licenses and 3,372 third-class licenses, during 1928, the number has fallen off to 29 first-class licenses, 768 second-class, and 1,981 third-class licenses.

An example of the difficult situation among the peasantry who have been living on the edge of starvation for years is seen from the fact that, driven to selling the straw which covered their thatched roofs, a standard price had to be set for this straw.

The number of peasants who are receiving government support has reached 140,000. This, however, was considered insufficient and the vice-governor of the Vilna District issued an appeal to the population.

The entire Jewish population in the districts affected are suffering greatly. They are not receiving government support although in many villages the Jewish population is practically starving.

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