Jewish Population of Eastern Provinces Dwindling Because of Economic Difficulties German Fremier Tol
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Jewish Population of Eastern Provinces Dwindling Because of Economic Difficulties German Fremier Tol

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Jewish life in Eastern Prussia, which was once in a flourishing state, the capital of the Province, Koenigsberg, having been among the pioneers of Jewish culture in Germany, is dying out because of the economic distress, which has overtaken the Jews there much more than the rest of the population, owing to the specific character of Jewish life there and the almost complete annihilation of those industries in which the Jews were for the most part engaged, the German Federal Prime Minister, Dr. Bruening, who is now touring the Eastern Provinces of the Republic, has been told by Jewish deputations which he has received in the various towns and cities he has visited. A detailed report of this specific Jewish distress in Eastern Prussia, which has resulted in great numbers of the Jewish population leaving it for other parts of the country, was presented to the Premier in Koenigsberg itself, by a deputation of the leaders of the local Jewish Community.

The German-Polish tariff war, they explained to the Premier, while hitting all sections of the German business world, had almost completely destroyed the large timber and saw-mills industry which had been practically entirely in Jewish hands, and the great extension of agricultural co-operatives had wiped out the numerous Jewish grain and cattle-dealers who had at one time been among the most important and most prosperous sections of the community in those parts. The result was that thousands of Jews left without any means of livelihood had emigrated or gone to live in other parts of Germany, and the Jewish population of East Prussia had sunk down to 11 per cent. of the pre-war Jewish population. Before the war East Prussia had over 120,000 Jews, and to-day it had no more than 11,000. Koenigsberg alone had before the war over 5,000 Jewish inhabitants.

Similar conditions apply in those provinces of what before the war was Eastern Prussia, and now form part of Poland – Posen, Pomerania, and the Polish parts of Silesia. Jewish life in these Provinces has dwindled to such an extent, that in many towns where there were once prosperous Jewish communities, there are no Jews left at all now, and the synagogues standing empty have been seized and converted in many places into churches. A special Conference is being opened at Grudziadz on the 25th. inst. (as reported in yesterday’s J.T.A. Bulletin) to consider what can be done so that these one-time Jewish possessions can be restored to Jewish ownership.

There have been anti-Jewish disturbances of a serious character in Koenigsberg and other parts of East Prussia, a particularly bad outbreak occurring in 1928, when antisemitic processions took place almost nightly in the city, with banners inscribed “Out with the Jews” and swastikas affixed to the doors of all Jewish houses.

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