Polish Justice Minister Signs Decree Abolishing Czaristic Restrictions Against Jews
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Polish Justice Minister Signs Decree Abolishing Czaristic Restrictions Against Jews

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The decree abolishing the existing Czaristic laws against the Jews of Poland was signed to day by Stanislaw Car, Minister of Justice, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns. The decree will be submitted to President Moscicki without whose signature the law cannot be published. Last week the Jewish member of parliament, M. A. Hartglass, on behalf of the Jewish Deputies Club and the Jewish National Council, wrote to President Moscicki calling his attention to the fact that with the dissolution of parliament he was empowered to issue a decree voiding the Czaristic laws.

The campaign to wipe from the Polish statute books this anachronistic legislation has been a cardinal point in the demands made by Polish-Jewish leaders of successive governments since the Republic was established. The negotiations for the removal of this vestige of Czarism appeared to have achieved success at the last session of parliament when a bill invalidating the laws passed its second reading. Before a third and final reading could be scheduled parliament was dissolved.


The demand for the abolition of the Czaristic laws against the Jews has been made an issue in parliament on a number of occasions in recent years by Jewish deputies who submitted detailed memorandums. In 1922 the Jewish Deputies Club presented a memorandum to parliament urging the abolition of the Czaristic restrictions against the Jews that were still in force and tracing in great detail the history and effect of the restrictions. The memorandum pointed out that the restrictions were still operative despite the fact that the Polish constitution of 1921 guaranteed the equality of all citizens without regard to race or religion.

These Czaristic ordinances, some o# which date back to 1843, curtail the elementary rights of the Jewish population such as restricting their right to the voluntary choice of residence, the right to freedom of trade and commerce and the right to hold certain offices. They also subject the Jews to more severe penalties than the Christian populace for civil and crimnal offenses.

In 1928 the then minister of justice, M. Myessetowitz, after being pressed for a clear cut statement on the matter by the Jewish deputies, told parliament that the Czaristic laws placing the Jews under civil disabilities are dead although they still appear on the statute books. The Jewish deputies took issue with this statement, citing evidence to the contrary.

Early in 1929 the chances of the Czaristic legislation being wiped out appeared to be unusually promising when the Polish Socialist Party and the Polish Radical Peasant Party joined the Jewish deputies in the fight. A bill was introduced in the form of an urgent motion. Herman Lieberman, leader of the Socialist Party, was named speaker on the question of annulling the laws after the parliamentary Committee on Constitution had taken the matter in hand.

Abolition was again delayed when the Committee on Constitution could not agree on the recommendation that a new law be introduced into parliament to annul the restrictive legislation. With parliament nearing the end of its session the matter was put off until the next session. In this fashion the problem has been bandied about for almost a decade. The signing of the law by the minister of justice and the expected signature by President Moscicki will eliminate from the Polish statute books legislation that has been a constant source of annoyance and trouble to the Jews of Poland.

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