The interpellation brought into the Sejm by the members of the Club of Jewish Deputies is, for the moment, the most complete and reliable document touching the recent anti-Jewish excesses in Poland. When the details of the outbreak in Lemberg and other parts first became known outside Poland, parties interested in minimizing the gravity of the occurrences were not slow to suggest that the reports were much exaggerated and that the number of Jewish casualties and the extent of the damage would eventually be found to fall far below the figures broadcast to an anxious Jewry. One need now do no more than glance through the tragic indictment drawn up by the Jewish parliamentary representatives in order to realize that, if anything, the telegraphed reports erred on the side of understatement.
Owing to the length and detailed nature of the document one cannot, unfortunately, do more than follow the sequence of events which it unfolds, and draw attention to the salient occurrences and the exact nature of the charges brought against the responsible authorities.
The opening paragraphs deal with the unfortunate melee that led to the death of the student Grotkowski and precipitated the anti-Jewish disturbances.
“For a long time”, says the interpellation, “the press of Lemberg has unanimously demanded from the authorities that a stop should be put to the shameful acts and the street-fights that have for many years occurred in the district between the two night clubs “Adria” and “Eldorado”, and which are recorded in the police news and the records of the courts. Moreover, Jewish representatives had pressed that the neighborhood be cleansed, particularly as the two night clubs practically surround a “Beth Hamidrash”. It was on the night of November 26-27th that there occurred in this area the incident that produced such tragic results.
“Six students, members of the student society “Lumika Veneda”, after having already passed some time in two restaurants proceeded in an elevated mood, at about eleven at night, to the “Adria”, from which they went, at about 1:20 a. m. to “Eldorado” which is opposite the “Adria” in the same street. On the way, they came upon a group of several men, and a woman said to be of easy virtue. After a sharp exchange of words a fight broke out. During this fight the student, Jan Grotkowski, was mortally wounded and died from haemorrhage on the way to the hospital.
“Three of the group referred to (all bearing Jewish names) were arrested by the police. Later a fourth Jew was apprehended. . . .
Commenting on this incident, the interpellation observes that one would have expected it to be dealt with in routine manner and treated as a night debauch, irrespective of its tragic conclusion.
“In the meantime, however,” says the statement of the Jewish deputies, “an attempt was already being made on the following morning to persuade the Polish student youth that the murder was not the result of an accidental adventure.”
Remembering previous outbreaks in Lemberg in 1918, 1924, 1929 and even November 12, 1932, the Governor of Lemberg correctly estimated the danger of the situation, for becoming aware of what had happened, he asked that the inquiry be carried out as speedily as possible and the report submitted to him. Indeed, on the same morning, the Governor held a conference which was attended also by the district governor and the local attorney. By the Jewish representatives attention had been called from the first moment to the dangerous atmosphere and the tendency to exploit the night adventure for the purpose of a great anti-Jewish incitement.