Boycott and Conversionist Agitations Combined in Poland: National Democratic Agitators Stumping Vill
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Boycott and Conversionist Agitations Combined in Poland: National Democratic Agitators Stumping Vill

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The anti-Jewish boycott agitation proclaimed by the National Democratic Party is spreading through the country, particularly in the villages, where National Democratic agitators are going about inciting the peasants not to buy anything from Jews when they go into the market towns to make their purchases.

Landowners in the district of Lowicz (where anti-Jewish outbreaks occurred a few days ago) have given notice to quit to the Jewish dairy farmers on their estates.

In Vilna, the boycott agitation is making so much head way that the Chief Rabbi, ex-Senator Rubinstein, has drawn the attention of the District Commissioner to the dangers of the anti-Jewish agitation. The District Commissioner has promised Chief Rabbi Rubinstein that he will take measures to have the boycott agitators and pickets removed from the market places.

The opportunities which the boycott agitation is opening up for exploiting the economic distress of the Jewish shopkeeper class, and the other sections of the Jewish population hit by the boycott, are already being seized upon by the conversionists, headed by some of the leaders of the same National Democratic Party that is conducting the boycott agitation, in order to hold out promises of economic betterment to induce Jews to apostasise.

The Roman Catholic Prelate Godlewski, who is one of the leaders of the National Democratic Party, is at the head of the new conversionist movement, and at the inaugural meeting held here to-day he emphasised the big opportunities that are now being opened up by the adoption of the scheme to give economic assistance to the converts. Hitherto, the conversionist work among the Jews in Poland has been left almost entirely to the foreign Protestant missions, he complained, and the Catholic Church must not neglect its opportunities.

The new conversionist movement has been endorsed by the Archbishop of Warsaw.


Poland is the classic land of the anti-Jewish boycott, which was at its height there in the years 1919-23. It has never actually ceased, and the Polish-Jewish Agreement concluded in 1925 between the Polish Government of that time, headed by M. Grabski, one of the National Democratic Party leaders, and the Club of Jewish Deputies, contained a clause in which the Government undertook “by means of a circular or other measures to take a stand against the antisemitism of the Rozwoj, League of the Father land and Faith, etc.

The clause as originally drafted contained the words “against the economic boycott directed against the Jews by recognised legal organisations such as the Rozwoj, etc.”, and “threatening to dissolve them if they fail to adapt themselves accordingly”, but these words were deleted by the Prime Minister, M. Grabski.

The American Jewish Year Book for 1922-23, published by the American Jewish Committee, referring to the situation in Poland at that time, could write: Poland is perhaps the only country where there exists a boycott against trade with Jews. During the year the press reported that the boycott had spread to Eastern Galicia, and the “Rozwoj” and its cohorts were agitating for the introduction of a boycott against Jews also in Posen. Furthermore, the Society of Polish Merchants, in a memorandum to the Government, requested that in trade with Russia Poles be given preference as against their Jewish compatriots, and the Warsaw Stock Exchange refused to admit a Jew to its directorate. The Central Jewish Merchants’ Association and practically every political party appealed to the Government to take measures against the boycott, without avail. Economic antisemitism was especially intense in the medical profession. In Poland it was a phase of the general boycott. In Warsaw the physicians organised a society to advise Christians not to call Jewish physicians and non-Jewish physicians not to call Jewish physicians into consultation, and to warn the people not to buy in drug-stores owned by Jews. This organisation also announced its intention to ask medical journals to decline articles by Jewish physicians, and medical schools to exclude Jewish students, or, if this is not possible, to restrict their number. A conference of Polish teachers at Vilna decided that teachers of Polish nationality only may become members of their mutual aid organisation.

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