New York (Nov. 20)
It is two years since the Federation of Polish Jews of America, acting on my suggestion, launched the Goodwill movement between Poles and Jews in the United States, Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, President of the Goodwill Committee between Poles and Jews in America, writes in a letter which he has sent to-day to M. Titus Filipowicz, the Polish Ambassador in America, resigning his Presidency of the Committee. For two long years, the letter continues, my associates and I have been labouring under the most difficult conditions to bring about a rapprochement between Poles and Jews. The benefits of this movement for the prestige of the Polish Republic and the good name of the Polish Nation are immense. The mere existence of this movement implied the tacit assumption that the Polish Government has or is about to solve the Jewish question within its borders; a question, the neglect of which has had the most deplorable repercussions in the whole civilised world.
We did more than merely give credit on futurities. We have fought under the fire of justifiable criticism for Poland’s prestige and greatness. I could mention many instances of incalculable services which we directly or indirectly rendered to the Republic of Poland. When Poland was harassed in connection with the so-called Polish Corridor, I, as a spokesman for the Federation of Polish Jews, threw the weight of Jewish opinion in the United States for the safety and security of Polish territory.
In short, we gave of ourselves, of our influence and of our strength unstintingly and unreservedly for the sake of our former Motherland. Still, there comes a time when the most enthusiastic sentimentalist must draw the line as to how far one may proceed without betraying the interests of the three million Jews in Poland, whose neglect and further uprooting menaces not only those unfortunate victims, but the very interests of the country.
Time and again we have appealed through you to the sense of justice, to the self-interests and enlightened statesmanship of your Government. We have made several important proposals how to alleviate the intolerable catastrophic situation of the Jews in Poland. We have been told to have patience; that your Government is contemplating a new course towards the Jews.
This new course so far as has contrived to engender wholesale impoverishment of the Jewish masses, starvation of a whole people and mass destruction which has no parallel in the annals of modern history. Discriminatory taxation has devitalised commerce and industry. Monopolisation of the industries and commerce of the country by and through the Government has robbed the Jews of their last economic foothold. No provision was made for those unfortunate bread-winners to find an asylum of escape from the grinding machine of discrimination.
A cable from Grodno, where there have been left 10 per cent. Jews in the tobacco industry-not so long ago a predominantly Jewish trade-reports the most unheard-of fact that of fifty employees lately discharged, forty were Jews. This is just one example of systematic wholesale dismissal of Jewish workers which has been repeated day after day. In the post offices, that employ tens of thousands of men, the last Jew has been taken off the payroll. Similar conditions prevail in the railroad system, in the schools, in the Government services and in establishments owned and run by the Government.
The Sunday Law, which even under the former Austrian regime left a loophole for Jewish industry and commerce on account of Sabbath observance, has been ruthlessly enforced as if to increase Jewish unemployment, which to-day embraces over half the Jewish population. Paragraph 20 of the Jewish Community Ordinance is an arbitrary attack on the autonomy of Jewish religious and cultural life. All this was done despite the existence of the Goodwill movement.
And as if all this were not sufficient punishment visited upon an unfortunate people, Dr. Tenenbaum writes, the latest antisemitic excesses in Poland which are spreading like wildfire, unabated and unchecked, have topped the measure of misfortune. In this, too, the Government has not shown sufficient vigour as it was wont to do in cases of disagreement with its policies. The Jews in Poland live through a veritable wave of horrors which could have been nipped in the bud if the Government would have acted with its wonted vigour.
Under these circumstances, Dr. Tenenbaum concludes, I feel that it is not only futile to go on and preach goodwill in vain, but that it would reflect on my sense of duty if I were to remain the head of an abortive movement which so far has not served its purpose. Though fully convinced of the soundness of the underlying principles of the Goodwill movement in the interests of the good name, prosperity and greatness of the Polish Republic, I feel that under the present circumstances, I have no right to lend my name and work to this movement, and therefore, though with great regret, I tender my resignation as President of the Goodwill Committee between Poles and Jews in America.