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J. D. B. News Letter

Nevertheless, despite the warning given, what was feared actually broke out on the afternoon of the same day, says the interpellation;

“. . .on Sunday afternoon there appeared in different parts of the city, groups of students who attacked Jews who were strolling about peacefully, and beat them with heavy sticks.”

No attention was paid by the student youth to the rector of the veterinary academy who declared to them: “We regard it as a wild night affair, as something with which the police and the law can deal adequately. . . .”

But the trouble had already started. To quote the official Jewish statement:

“Over the streets of Lemberg, there commenced a wild dance which, with varying intensity, continued from Sunday till after Thursday. Cries of “Beat the Jews” was the battle-call to the tune of which Jewish heads were battered and Jewish property destroyed.”

The disturbances spread quickly from place to place “and the panic grew with the attacks on defenseless women and children and with the distribution of thousands of anonymous leaflets which sowed the seed of hate incited to attack. . . . .” Later the Christian students prevented the Jewish students from entering the colleges, leading to their closing down, and to the further spread of the anti-Jewish attacks in other parts of the city. On Monday morning the ambulances were ceaselessly busy carrying the injured Jews to the hospital. Many others, covered with blood attended the pharmacies for treatment.”

Dealing with the number of injured, the statement gives the provisional figure of Jewish casualties as 361, compiled from reports of hospitals and private practitioners, though the conclusion of the inerpellation reports 399. It adds that it is not in possession of the number of those treated by First Aid stations, which was, however put by the newspapers at 250 for three days.

Regarding the attitude of the police, the following passage in the interpellation is important:

“The Jewish population was, almost from the first in a state of panic, because they saw no decisive action on the part of those authorities whose duty it was to guard and maintain public order and to protect the life and property of citizens.” It goes on to describe the situation at the out break when only three hundred police were on duty, although the danger of such outbreaks had actually been referred to in a statement dealing with attacks on Jewish property as recently as Nov. 12. Furthermore, “the police on duty were either absent when Jews were being beaten or failed to intervene, or produced even greater confusion with its so-called passive attitude. . . . With regard to the arrests—in the first two days, the majority of those arrested were Jews who had either defended themselves or tried to defend Jews who were being assaulted. Thus, during Monday 15 Jews were arrested on the Legiongasse where they were repelling a much larger group of Endek students.”

But the details of the happenings not only confirm the passivity of the police, they also deliberately charge the police in certain cases of assaulting Jews:

“The police were not only unconcerned; we have even noted cases in which Jews were beaten by the police.”

The interpellation which, from this point goes into details of individual assaults on Jews also quotes cases of the callousness of the police when assaults were reported to them and the jocularity with which Jewish injuries were treated:

“When Morgenstern (a Jewish watchmaker who had been knifed) leaned, covered with blood, against the table in the police bureau, he was told, “Don’t dirty our table.” And when he asked to be escorted home, he was told, “Now you’re afraid to go home yourself; but you wern’t afraid to kill a second student this morning.” (A reference to the case of Zamorski of which more is said later).

Particular emphasis is laid on the significance of the participation of official personages in the funeral of the student, Grotkowski, on Tuesday, and on the student meetings allowed to be held on Wednesday.

The Jewish representatives had previously warned the Governor of the danger involved in a demonstrative funeral, on the absence of protection for the Jews and the frequently hostile attitude of the police. “But the Governor paid no attention to these observations,” is the comment of the Jewish document.

The funeral was made the occasion of a confirmation of Grotkowski’s martyrdom. It was attended by about 15,000 persons, according to the official report, though the newspapers estimated the attendance at 40,000. “There were present the professors of the University headed by the Senate and rectors as well as the veterans of the Polish rising of 1863.” The funeral was described by the “Courier Lwowski” as “a great demonstration of the national Lemberg, as a unanimous expression of the thoughts of Lemberg society.”

“It is no wonder,” says the interpellation, “that the disturbances were further intensified after the funeral, particularly after the incident with the student Zamorski, following the return of the funeral procession, an incident which was described both by the anti-Semitic press and the authorities as a Jewish crime.”

The student, Zamorski, had been injured by an explosion, and it was straightway concluded that he had been shot by Jews. “But three days later it was shown that there had been no shot whatever. . . and it was proved that Zamorski had injured himself by means of a grenade” as a stratagem to provoke further outbreaks.

“Such conduct on the part of the authorities,” declares the statement, “strengthened the attacks on the Jews, particularly when the Governor, instead of ordering the arrest and punishment of the guilty parties, actually sat down to a round-table talk with the leaders of the disturbances. . . . Nor did the mass meetings of Wednesday at the University and the subsequent distribution of manifestoes contribute towards pacification.”

The Club of Jewish Deputies lays down, in conclusion, a list of five demands, calling for an exhaustive enquiry into the events of Nov. 27 to Dec. 2 in Lemberg; an inquiry into the attitude of the authorities responsible for maintaining and securing order; punishment of those responsible; compensation for damage; and the adoption of measures that will make impossible the repetition of such occurrences.

There is appended to the interpellation a list of 399 Jewish casualties and descriptions of injuries and damage, more eloquent than anything that can be said about them.

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