Menu JTA Search

J. D. B. News Letter

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

bor, Borislav, and many others, always had a Jew at the head of their affairs, the official ruler of the town.

More than one town owes its prosperity and development to its Jewish Town President, who always enjoyed the confidence of the whole of his population, irrespective of creed or nationality. The Polish population took it for granted that in accordance with the Constitution of the time, which provided for equal duties and rights of citizens, the majority of the town population had the right to appoint one of their own as President of the town, and the rest had to accept it.

It happened very often, too, that Poles and other non-Jews helped to put a Jew in office in places where the Jewish votes alone would not have sufficed, because they considered him the best man for the post.

But with the rise of Independent Poland there was an end to this natural and matter of course state of affairs. In the twitching of an eye there were no more Jewish Town Presidents, and now people can hardly believe that they really remember a time when a Jewish Town President was possible.

The towns in which there was a Jewish majority still have a Jewish majority. The election regulations are unchanged. The Polish Constitution proclaims that all citizens, irrespective of their religion or nationality, are equal and enjoy equal rights, and yet there is not a single Jewish Town President to-day anywhere in the whole of the Polish State.

That is only one instance. It is symbolic of the whole of Jewish life in Poland to-day. There is a Constitution which solemnly proclaims on paper that the Jews like all other citizens belonging to the national minorities enjoy equal rights with all other citizens, but this right exists only on paper. There is not a trace of it in real life. There is not even an attempt made to retain the right where it has already existed for years and was the most natural thing in the world.

In Galicia Jews used to hold many important official positions under the old Austrian regime. As soon as the Polish State was set up a movement was started to clear out all the Jews who held public office. Now, after several years, the process has been triumphantly concluded. There are no Jews left in office even in Galicia. There are certainly none anywhere else in the Polish State. Every method has been used, clean and unclean, to clean Poland of the stain of having Jews in her public offices.

The process was started by the National Democrats when they governed the country. It was part of their avowedly anti-Semitic programme. They carried their purpose. Poland was rid of all Jewish officials, all Jewish Town Presidents. No Jews in high places. No Jews as administrators of the Polish State. And the present Government, being concerned only with words and solemn declarations about friendship to the Jews, keeps it so, and fixes the tradition — it is unthinkable that a Jew should hold any office in Poland. Thus far has Polish Jewry sunk.

NEXT STORY