Ray of Hope for Polish Jews Seen in Resignation of Vice-minister of Finance: Regarded As Abandonment
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Ray of Hope for Polish Jews Seen in Resignation of Vice-minister of Finance: Regarded As Abandonment

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The so-called policy of “etatism” under which the Government took over various industrial enterprises as State monopolies, displacing tens of thous ands of Jewish industrialists and Jewish workers employed in industry, is proclaimed a failure to -day in the Polish press, in its comments upon the resignation of the Vice-Minister of Finance, M. Starzynski. M. Starzynski is a pillar of “etatism” and his resignation is consequently interpreted as the abandonment of this policy, owing to its non-production of results. The policy has failed to provide any increase of Government revenue, it is stated, and at the same time it has brought about a big drop in taxation, by putting a large number of traders out of business. The Club of Jewish Deputies and Jewish leaders in all branches of Jewish life have repeatedly demanded the abolition of etatism, contending that it is one of the principal reasons for the present catastrophic economic situation of the Jewish population. M. Starzynski’s resignation, it is confidently believed, will be followed by a substantial modification of the etat policy.

An instance of the manner in which “etatism” operates to the detriment of Jewish workers was furnished in a resolution adopted by the Polish Tobacco Workers’ Conference held a short time back, in which the non-Jewish workers protested against the boycott of Jewish workers in the tobacco industry, one of the industries taken over by the Government monopoly. The figures submitted to the conference showed that the once powerful Jewish tobacco trade proletariat in Poland has now practically disappeared with the single exception of the town of Grodno, where there are still a couple of hundred Jewish tobacco workers. In other towns there are hardly any left at all. In Warsaw, for instance, which at one time had large numbers of Jewish ttobacco workers; there were only tow left.

Dr. Bernhard Kahn, the European Director of the Joint Distribution Committee, in a report which he presented a few years ago, said that the economic crisis was aggravated by the strongly antisemitic tendencies of the Government. Some time ago the Government had brought about the tobacco, salt and match monopoly. In these three types of industries there had been mainly Jews working, especially many Jewish women, war widows and adult orphans. By this governmental monopoly the Jewish workers had been forced out of all these occupations. The Jews were discharged and Polish workers had taken their place. Shops licensed for these monopolised goods had also been taken away from Jewish hands and turned over to poles. In this manner over 30,000 Jewish families had been rendered resourceless and were swelling the army of unemployed Jews and intensifying Jewish distress.

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