Warsaw (Feb. 4)
The division that exists in the Jewish ranks in the Polish Parliament was again demonstrated to-day in the debate on the budget in the plenary session of the Seym, when three different Jewish Deputies declared themselves of three different minds in regard to their attitude to the Government.
Deputy Isaac Gruenbaum declared that he would vote against the budget, Deputy Rabbi Dr. Thon, the President of the Club of Jewish Deputies, announced that the Club would abstain from voting, and Deputy Rabbi Lewin, of the Agudath Israel, declared that he would vote for the budget.
Deputy Rabbi Dr. Thon, explaining that he was speaking in the name of the majority of the Club of Jeiwsh Deputies, said that they recognised that the present regime was not pursuing the zoological antisemitism of the preceding Polish Governments. But at the same time it had done nothing positive to alleviate the terrible distress of the Jewish population. He appealed to the humanity of the Government to give the Jews a chance of earning at least a bare livelihood, instead of looking on with indifference while they were being thrust out of all their economic positions and reduced to destitution.
Deputy Rabbi Dr. Thon went on to paint a gloomy picture of the misery in which the Jewish population in Poland is living, and he enumerated a number of Government measures which, he said, are largely contributing to the growth of Jewish impoverishment. Chief among these was the Compulsory Sunday Closing Law, which forced Jews to desecrate the Sabbath unless they suspended their work two days in the week, and thus reduced their earning capacity still more. I am proud to say, Dr. Thon declared, that in spite of the serious economic losses, the Jewish masses as a whole continue to observe the Sabbath day. Such high idealism and devotion to their faith and traditions deserve a better reward from the Government than the maintenance of this law which is hastening the economic ruination of Polish Jewry.
Deputy Rabbi Lewin agreed that the plight of the Jewish population was terrible, and he, too, read out a list of complaints which the Jews have against the present Government, but he was hopeful, he said, that the Government would immediately proceed to take steps to give effect to the Jewish postulates and to improve the Jewish position.
Deputy Gruenbaum said that he was in complete agreement with Deputy Dr. Thon’s description of the terrible position of the Jewish masses, but he had lost all hope in the present regime. The Jewish population was bitter against the present Government, he said, because it had made no attempt to give effect to the hopes which had been placed in it by the Jews. The Jewish masses had never been so disillusioned as now, because though the National Democrats had been removed from power, the National Democratic ideal was still being applied against the Jews.