Warsaw (Jan. 26)
The Government Bill for the repeal of the Czarist restrictions against the Jews which have remained till now on the Statute Books in Congress Poland, which before the war formed part of the Czarist Empire, was carried in the Seym to-day in the second and third readings. The deputies of the antisemitic National Democratic and Christian democratic Parties, who in previous parliaments constituted a big force, voted this time, too, against the bill, but were powerless to prevent the big Government majority in the present Seym adopting the measure.
The bill goes now to the Senate, where, too, the Government has an independent majority, and it is expected to be passed there in the same way without difficulty. It will then be published in the “Official Gazette”, and will enter into force forthwith.
From the first days of the constitution of the Polish Republic in 1919, the Jewish representatives have been fighting for the abolition of the Czarlst restriction laws in Congress Poland. ( In the other parts of the Polish Republic, which before the war belonged to the German and Austrian Empires, the restrictive laws against the Jews were abolished in the days of Jewish emancipation in the last century). As far back as June 1919, the Jewish Club of Deputies introduced a motion of urgency in the Constituent Seym calling for the abolition of these restrictions. It took two years, however, before the motion was put on the agenda of the Juridical Commission of the Seym. It constantly encountered the violent opposition of the strong antisemitic parties in the previous Seyms. The Priest Lutoslavsky, one of the leaders of the antisemitic movement in Poland who died a few years ago, and other speakers spoke against the withdrawal of the Jewish disabilities, and carried the House with them on the vote.
When the Government bill came up last week before the Juridical Commission of the present Seym, one of the National Democratic representatives, Deputy Jazwinski, spoke still very vehemently against it, hinting that the Government was trying to rush it through because of some sinister bargain it had probably made with the Jews.
In the last Seym, the Government set up after the Pilsudski rising of 1926 promised to abolish the Czarist restrictions, which it declared, are admittedly in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic. A bill for the repeal of the restrictions was carried in the first and second readings, but it could not be brought up for the third reading before the dissolution for the elections, in which the present Seym was returned.
THE ARGUMENT THAT CZARIST RESTRICTIONS WERE A DEAD LETTER.
In the course of a debate on the question in the Seym, the Minister of Justice argued that although the Czarist discriminatory laws are still on the Statute Book they are a dead letter and are no longer enforced.
The Jewish Deputies thereupon pointed out that the Czarist restriction laws were still being applied and that only recently a Jew in the Warsaw district had been refused permission to buy land, the prohibition being based on the Czarist restriction law, regarded as still in force. The authorities, they said, also still applied the Czarist restriction law prohibiting Christians from adopting Judaism.
Last month, M. Filipowicz, the Polish Ambassador in the United States, promised the leaders of the American Jewish Committee and of the Federation of Polish Jews in America that the Government was taking steps for the speedy abolition of the Czarist restrictions.
The Jewish Parliamentary representatives and the Jewish press in Poland, commenting on this statement took the view that the importance of the Czarist restrictions had been exaggerated and that their annulment is rather a question of prestige for the Polish State than of any definite benefit to the Jews.