Warsaw (Dec. 24)
On the eve of Christmas the Minister of Finance has given the Jews of Poland a Christmas gift by agreeing on the intervention of the Jewish representatives not to withdraw any more tobacco or spirit trading licences from Jewish holders with the coming of the new year, the Yiddish daily “Najer Hajnt” reports to-day, hailing the decision as saving the livelihoods of thousands of Jewish families.
The Jews have been in a great state of anxiety over the prospect of many of the present licence-holders being refused a renewal when the new licences are issued for the new year, and the Jewish representatives have been busy trying to induce the Government to allow for an automatic prolongation of all the existing licences, pointing out that in the present critical economic period it would be disastrous to deprive thousands of Jewish families of their livelihood, when there is no possibility of any of them obtaining openings elsewhere, so that they would be rendered destitute. The Minister of Finance accepted the conclusions of the Jewish representatives and ordered that there should be no withdrawal of licences this year.
The prospect of a withdrawal of licences for the sale of alcohol and tobacco, which are Government monopoly articles, has been causing anxiety to Polish Jewry for a number of years, being most acute in 1925, when a bill withdrawing all existing licences for dealing in Government monopoly articles in order to reissue them to ex-soldiers was passed in the Seym, amidst a storm of protest by the Jewish Deputies, who were finally suspended for creating a disturbance. Deputy Hausner, who afterwards became the Polish Commercial Representative in Palestine, read out on behalf of the Club of Jewish Deputies a declaration protesting against the policy of economic extermination of Polish Jewry embodied in the bill, which it was claimed would deprive about 30,000 Jewish families of their livelihood. The bill was officially gazetted in July 1925, but has been kept back each year from being put into operation. Under the Polish-Jewish Agreement which was negotiated between the Government of the time and the Club of Jewish Deputies the same year, it was arranged that in any case the Act would not enter into force for five years, which brought it up to the summer of 1930.