Warsaw (Oct. 3)
A demand for a radical change in the Polish taxation system, which at present is imposing an impossible burden on the trading and artisan classes, to which the overwhelming majority of the Jewish population belongs, a refutation of the allegation that the Jews of Poland are capitalists, a reminder that the assistance which Polish Jewry used to receive from the Jewries of America, and other countries, has been stopped, and a demand for the removal of the obstructions which Jews encounter on every side when they try to obtain work in Poland, were the chief points in a speech which Deputy Henryk Rosmarin delivered on behalf of the Club of Jewish Deputies in the Seym to-day, following the statement of policy made by the Prime Minister, M. Prystor, when Parliament was reopened after an adjournment of several months.
The Premier dealt mainly with the unemployment question and the international financial situation. Unemployment in Poland is less than in other countries, he said, and the last budget year was closed with a comparatively small deficit of 61 million zlotys. For the first five months of the current budget year the deficit is 115 million zlotys, he went on, and we are convinced that the position is now improving. With every month we are nearer to budget stabilisation. At the same time, he continued, the financial crisis in Germany and England must have serious reactions on the financial situation in Poland and other countries, and might lead to the introduction of an entirely new financial system, and if that happened the Polish Government would have to adapt itself to the changed conditions. The Government, he concluded, is engaged in combating unemployment. It will endeavour, he said, to aid industry by placing orders, providing protective tariffs and concluding trading agreements. We are sure, he declared, that Poland is on the road to overcoming her economic difficulties.
The Government’s plan to help the unemployed is a good one, but it must embrace all citizens who have lost their means of livelihood, without distinction of faith or nationality, Deputy Rosmarin said.
DISTRESS OF JEWISH POPULATION IS TERRIBLE DEPUTY ROSMARIN SAYS: TRADING IS DEAD AND ARTISANS HAVE NO WORK.
The distress among the Jewish population is terrible, Deputy Rosmarin went on, and immediate and urgent aid is essential. Trading is dead, he said. The artisans have no work.
It is absurd at this time of day, he cried, to talk of Jews being members of the capitalist class. The proletarianisation of the Jewish population has made huge strides, he said, and if they would examine the statistics they would find that there were hundreds of thousands of Jews without any livelihood at all, completely displaced and dispossessed, destitute. Jews were, against their inclinations, against their will, being driven into the arms of the radical movements, and the Government, by its present policy, was hastening the process.
There had been a time, he continued, when the Jews had been receiving help from abroad. That time had gone. In many official quarters they were still saying that the Jews were receiving dollars from abroad. That is no longer true, Deputy Rosmarin said. This source of income has long since been stopped. The flow of American dollars is at an end. Help must now come from inside the country. We demand work for the Jewish population, but we are always encountering obstructions on every side.
We demand radical changes in the taxation system, Deputy Rosmarin went on. I am convinced, he said, that if we reduce taxation we shall have a revival of economic life, and the revenue of the State will rise. We demand also an amnesty for arrears of taxation, he said. In any case, there is no chance of the State ever being able to collect these arrears, and the only effect they have is to paralyse all initiative by the knowledge that they are there, suspended over the heads of the people, like the sword of Damocles.
Years ago, Deputy Rosmarin reminded the Seym, the Jewish Deputies warned this House that the budget was too heavy for the population to bear and urged that it should be cut. At that time, our warning was scoffed at, and we were even accused in some quarters of being traitors to the State. But now everybody has come to realise that we were right.
We have repeatedly drawn attention, he went on, to the discrimination which is exercised against Jewish citizens in the matter of employment in State and municipal enterprises.
In the course of the debate last year on the budget, the Minister of Posts, in replying to our question why Jews were not being employed as Post Office employees, said that one Jew had been engaged in the Post Office service in a small township in Eastern Galicia. This was a fact. A few days ago I received a letter from this Jewish Post Office employee, Deputy Rosmarin proceeded, and he tells me that he has been dismissed. No reason is given for his dismissal. He is a man who has a family of seven to support. He was receiving a salary of 120 zlotys a month. He has all necessary qualifications, and he has been working in his position for five months, during which time he has given complete satisfaction. And now he is dismissed without any reason being given for this action.
Deputy Rosmarin also complained that the Government was not subsidising the Jewish school system. The Government schools are practically closed to Jewish children, he said. It is almost impossible for a Jewish child to get admission into the Government schools, and the Jewish schools have none of the rights accorded by the State. We have a Hebrew and a Yiddish school system, he said. We have a score of secondary schools. We have several teachers’ seminaries and a couple of hundred elementary schools. The Jewish Nationalists and the Jewish Communists are waging a war in these schools for the soul of the Jewish children, and the Government, which could do a great deal to help the sane and stable elements of the Jewish population, is standing by without lending a hand.