Warsaw (Jan. 6)
The position of the Jews in Poland is tragic, Rabbi Lipschitz, the President of the Federation of Polish Rabbis, said at the Conference of the Federation here. Economically the situation is unbearable, he declared. The Compulsory Sunday Closing Law is largely responsible for this, he went on, because it hits the great majority of Jews who are Sabbath-observant. We appeal to the Government to modify this law, because we are convinced that it will benefit not only the Jewish people, but also the Polish State in which we live.
The Rabbis of Poland are united in this Federation not in a professional organisation to defend their professional and personal interests, Rabbi Lipschitz said, but our programme is the sacred Torah, and the building up of Jewish life on the firm foundations of the Jewish faith.
Deputy Rabbi Levin said that the Jewish position in Poland is really catastrophic. Thousands of Jewish lives are being ruined every day, he declared. At such a time, he cried, the Rabbis must come to the people with a strong word, and with a cheery message to revive their drooping hopes and save them from despair.
From this high tribune, she said, we send a call to all Israel to join together in peace and brotherhood.
We Rabbis are often accused, Deputy Rabbi Levin continued, of standing apart from the people, and of being estranged from Jewish life. That is untrue. The Rabbis are the heart of the Jewish people, and the Jewish cry of distress pierces the heart first. This is no time for warfare, he said. There must be an end of the Jewish internal friction, and if this call of ours finds a response in Jewish hearts, he said, this Conference will have done a great thing.
The Jewish informers (Mosserim) are to blame for much of the Jewish suffering in Poland, Deputy Rabbi Levin asserted. It is because of them that the Jewish merchant class is being crushed beneath the burden of excessive taxation, he said.
Against these informers, he cried, we must not hesitate to take the most drastic measures, not even stopping at excommunication.
The Compulsory Sunday Closing Law is destroying Jewish economic life, Rabbi Levin said, and its modification is imperative.
The Government must also be made to understand that it must not stand by passively in the midst of the anti-Jewish boycott agitation. The Government has enough power, he declared, to fight against the boycott movement and to put an end to it.
NO LUXURIES FOR JEWS IN DISTRESSFUL TIMES LIKE THESE: THREE-YEAR PERIOD OF MODEST LIVING TO BE PROCLAIMED: RABBI OF GRAUDENZ DESCRIBES HOW JEWISH LIFE IN POSEN WHERE ONCE THERE WERE FLOURISHING COMMUNITIES DYING OUT: JEWS FORCED TO LEAVE HOMES: MARKET DAYS NOW BEING HELD ON SATURDAYS SO JEWISH TRADERS CANNOT ATTEND WITHOUT IN FRINGING SABBATH
Deputy Rabbi Levin said, in concluding his speech, that in a time of distress like the present, Jews must deny themselves all luxuries, and we here at this Conference, he urged, should proclaim a period of three years during which Jews should live abstemiously, should live modestly and simply.
Rabbi Josselewicz, the Rabbi of Suwalk, made an onslaught on those Jewish industrialists in Poland who do not give employment to Jewish workers at a time like this when there are such great numbers of Jewish unemployed.
Rabbi Lipschitz also dealt with the widespread Jewish unemployment and urged a campaign to bring about the introduction of a five-day working week, which, he said, would provide better opportunities for the employment of Jews in Jewish factories, where at present this is difficult because the factories cannot close on Saturdays.
The Rabbi of Graudenz followed with a moving description of the annihilation of Jewish life in the province of Posen. At one time there were great and flourishing Jewish Communities in Posen, which had exercised great influence in Jewish life, and now they were non-existent, he said. The anti-Jewish feeling is so intense that the Jewish population had been compelled to take up the staff of the wanderer, and leave their native places. The synagogues and the valuable property of the Jewish Communities were falling into the possession of the local municipalities.
Another great blow at Jewish economic life, the Rabbi said, is the fact that market-days are now being arranged very largely for Saturdays, so that Jews are shut out from every opportunity of earning anything, unless they violate the Sabbath.
Rabbi Serozkin, the Rabbi of Lutzk, who delivered a report on the Jewish Communities Statutes, urged that the Jewish communities cannot be built up except on the basis of membership of the Jewish faith, and the demand of the Jewish parties of the Left, to secularise the Jewish Communities was therefore inadmissible.
The Conference has decided unanimously on the proposal of the President, Rabbi Lipschitz, to send an appeal to the United States Government that it should issue visas outside the immigration quota to enable the husbands and wives of American citizens, many of whom are now stranded in Poland, to enter the country, so that the families should be reunited.