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completely of those days when all the university cities of Central and Western Europe were filled with Jews from Russia who couldn’t enter the Russian universities.

“The number of Jewish young people of Poland who are studying abroad has already reached 10,000, and 80 percent of them are studying medicine and technical sciences, that is, courses which they aren’t allowed to pursue in Poland. And now the Ministry has thought out a plan to make it even difficult for the Jews to study medicine abroad. What kind of an impression does that make upon the Jewish youth? In the Russian days, one of the reasons that made for the development of revolutionary sentiments among the Jewish youth was undoubtedly the fact that access to the higher schools was barred to it. Among us here today, the same thing is beginning to occur and the results are also the same. The Russian intelligentsia understood it; you, creating the same conditions, do not seem to understand to what this will lead.” (Speaker Birko: “Don’t speak so irresponsibly and don’t frighten us.”)


“Others, though they speak more sharply, you do not interrupt, Mr. Speaker. About things that hurt one cannot speak calmly. I especially cannot speak calmly about it. I am not frightening. I am only calling attention to the results which the policy of the government may bring, and this is my duty as deputy and as citizen.

“I shall now consider those schools where Hebrew or Yiddish is the language of instruction. With regard to these schools, nothing has changed. Just as before, they enjoy no rights and get no government subsidies. The grant of rights to the gymnasia where Hebrew is the language of instruction has stopped with the first three classes. They get subsidies from the Ministry in such small sums that it would seem as if it wishes to make fun of them. I know a school that got 180 zlotys for the entire year. These schools exist only thanks to the help of Jews abroad. The American ‘Joint’ spends upon them a half million zlotys yearly. If we will add to that the half million that is being spent for the professional schools, we will have the million zlotys which we are demanding constantly of the government without success. Jews abroad take the place of the Polish government when it comes to satisfying our cultural needs—and not only the cultural ones, for that matter—of the Jewish citizenry. Is the Ministry of Education, is the Budget Commission of the Sejm interested that this situation should continue?


“The subsidy for the religious needs of the Jewish population has remained the same as before—120,000 zlotys. I must say here again that this sum must be increased; if not, we shall refuse it altogether. The government is continually saying that with regard to our religious demands there is no difference of opinion among us, that we have to fight for our national demands since the government still refuses to recognize us as a nationality, but that as a religion we are recognized. Then why must we always fight for those budget sums to which we are entitled as a religion? We are told that this is because the Jewish Kehillahs have a right to tax their members, and the government is therefore free from the duty of subsidizing the Kehillahs. But that would be true if the Kehillah tax were subtracted from the direct taxes which Jews pay the government. But since the Kehillah tax is an additional tax to the enormously great taxes which Jews pay to keep up the government and its institutions, justice demands that the government should financially aid the poorer Kehillahs. From the 120,000 zlotys provided for Jewish religious purposes the Kehillahs, of course, receive nothing.

“It seems to me that the policy of the Ministry of Education and Religions with regard to Jews, especially with regard to schools, cannot be said to be aiming towards a certain purpose, except when that purpose is to place at every step barriers and hardships before the Jews.”


Answering Deputy Gruenbaum, Minister of Education Chervinski said:

“I wish to say that the representatives of the minorities have spoken about certain aggravating problems as being directed wholly against them, whereas the Polish population, too, in reality suffers from them.

“Deputy Gruenbaum has been storming here about the special passes for students of medicine. But he didn’t mention that this order affects in the same degree the Polish students too, since it is issued from motives that are not nationalistic at all. The same is true of the union of Jewish and general schools. I am in favor of that where it leads to a higher type of school. In other cases I am, for personal motives, against it.

“I am interested in the welfare of the schools without regard to the nationality of their pupils.”

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