Warsaw (Sep. 29)
Whether it is the effect of the severe economic crisis which has made the mistakes committed in pursuing the old methods stand out more clearly, and shown how erroneous were the views that have prevailed hitherto on the question of collaboration and co-operation between the citizens of the country, or whether it is the result of the evolution of the State idea in Poland, which has now opened the eyes of all those who were trained by the National Democratic Party in the course of many years in an atmosphere of religious and national hatred, so that enmity blinded them to the real interests of the country and of the State, the fact remains that at the Jewish Artisans’ Congress we have heard people speak in a new way to which we have not been accustomed before, the Yiddish daily “Moment” writes to-day, in commenting on the speeches delivered to the Jewish Artisans’ Congress here by representatives of the Government and of the Polish Artisans’ Organisations.
We have heard the representatives of the Government and of the Polish economic and social institutions say things that even the sceptics, who are always reminding us that there is a difference between words and performances, must recognise as the beginning of a new epoch, the paper proceeds. The third All-Polish Congress of Jewish Artisans was transformed into a splendid demonstration for peaceful and friendly collaboration between Jews and Christians and of praise of honest creative work.
The Congress, it continues in its report, was opened by the President, ex-Deputy Rassner, who started to speak in Polish, welcoming the representatives of the Government, the Municipality and the economic institutions. Proceeding in Yiddish, he welcomed the delegates, who had in spite of the difficult times come to the Congress; he then welcomed the representatives of the Jewish institutions, and he concluded by calling for cheers for the Polish Republic, the President and Marshall Pilsudski.
The next speaker, it says, was the President of the Export Institute, M. Turski, who spoke also in the name of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. His speech was not the speech of an official who had come merely to perform a duty, and to speak a few formal, courteous phrases. It was a well considered, statesmanlike speech. The words were those of a man who sees with open eyes what is going on in the country, and draws the proper conclusions.
We are living in a time of revaluation of values, he said, and there has been a change in this connection also in respect to the artisan class. The Government has realised that the artisan plays an important part in the life of the State, and that he must be treated as such. He then appealed to the artisan class to fight against the crisis with all the strength they command. The crisis is indeed severe, he said, but there is nothing that can stand against the will of man, and if the artisans fight the crisis with will and determination and in union, they will overcome the crisis.
The Government, he assured us, is ready whenever it is approached, to give its assistance in the struggle.
The Vice-President of the City Council, M. Meisel, then greeted the Congress on behalf of the Municipality, and Dr. Bychowski, a member of the Executive of the City Council, spoke of the new ideas people had now about the function and the place of the artisan in the life of the State. There was a time, he said, when artisanship was thought to be on its last legs, on the verge of being swallowed up by heavy industry. Now people had become convinced, however, that this was a wrong conception of the situation, and all over the world the slogan was “back to arts and crafts”. This, he said, would be all to the good of the artisan class, both of the Jewish artisans and of the entire artisan class all over the country.
DAY FOR MAKING DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN ARTISANS IS OVER SAYS SENATOR WIECHOWICZ CHAIRMAN OF FEDERATION OF POLISH ARTISAN CHAMBERS: WHAT SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE A FEW YEARS AGO SAYS DEPUTY IDZIKOWSKI REPRESENTATIVE OF CENTRAL COUNCIL OF POLISH ARTISANS’ ORGANISATION HAS NOW BECOME ONLY POSSIBLE WAY: NO CONFLICT OF INTERESTS BETWEEN POLISH AND JEWISH ARTISANS ONLY EVIL-MINDED PEOPLE HAD CREATED BREACH WHERE NONE SHOULD BE.
Deputy Snopczinski said that he had been asked by the President of the Government Parliamentary Party, Colonel Slawek, to convey his greetings to the Congress. He had been authorised to give them an assurance, he proceeded, that Colonel Slawek and the entire Government Parliamentary bloc were keenly interested in the welfare of the artisan class, and would pay close attention to the demands formulated at their Congress. They could depend on it that the Government bloc which is the Parliamentary majority would support their demands.
The President of the Warsaw Jewish Community, M. Eli Mazur, who made his first official appearance as President of the Community at the Congress, said that the administration of the Warsaw Jewish Community and the administrations of the Jewish Communities of the other big towns in Poland were now devoting special attention to the question of promoting the interests of the artisan and the small trader classes. To this end, they were now engaged in drawing up a scheme for establishing loan banks on a large scale to provide credit, aid for artisans and small traders. He hoped, he said, that there would be peaceful and friendly collaboration between the Jewish and the Christian artisans, to the advantage of the entire country.
Senator Wiechowicz, Chairman of the Federation of Polish Artisans’ Chambers, said that these Chambers had created a basis for common and useful work between the Polish and the Jewish artisans. The day for making distinctions between Jewish and Christian artisans was over, he declared. They were all animated now by the desire to improve the level of the artisan workshops and to obtain proper recognition for the artisan class to the mutual advantage of all artisans. For this purpose they needed peace and collaboration, and this was the aim for which they were working.
M. Sobol, the Chairman of the Warsaw Artisans’ Chamber, said that the present crisis required unity and joint work in order to overcome it. If the artisans were to fight successfully against the crisis, they could do it only if they were all united, Jewish and Christian artisans working together to raise the level of the entire Polish artisan class.
Deputy Idzikowski, speaking in the name of the Central Council of the Organisation of Polish Artisans, said:
It is high time now that we, the representatives of the Polish and the Jewish Artisans, get together and join hands. It is time that we adopt a new attitude. There are new people in charge now who have the say in this matter, and we are building new roads for collaboration between all citizens. What seemed impossible a few years ago has now become the only thing possible. There has never been any conflict between the interests of the Polish and the Jewish artisans, only evil-minded men strove to make difficulties, and to create a breach where none should be. He concluded with an appeal for joint work between all artisans, irrespective of their religion or nationality.
Senator Rogowitch, speaking in the name of the Organisation of the Polish middle-class, said that his Organisation had till now worked in conjunction with the Christian artisans. Now the time had come for collaboration also with the Jewish artisans. They had seen that artisanship and small industry had not been so broken by the crisis as was big industry. The State and public opinion realised now the important place which artisanship holds in the economic life of the country, and intended to take the necessary steps to give it all the support and assistance it needs. He had had occasion to be in consultation with the representatives of the Jewish artisans, he concluded, and he was convinced that the Jewish artisans were able to do their part towards the economic recovery of Poland.