Important Step Towards Abolition of Czarist Restrictions in Poland

An important step towards the abolition of the Czarist restrictions against Jews in Poland was made today when the Supreme Administrative Tribunal granted the appeal of a Jewish tenant-farmer against an eviction order made by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The tenant, Wolf Becker, whose family had for three generations held a lease on a farm of ten hectres near Novo Grudki, automatically became the permanent lessee of the property under a Polish law introduced after the war. The new landlord, however, who had acquired the title to the farm, demanded Becker’s eviction on the ground that, under Czarist law, Jews were prohibited from leasing farm-land. He argued that, consequently, Becker could not benefit from the Polish law under which he sought protection. Both the Ministry of Agriculture and the High Court endorsed the claim for Becker’s eviction which has been quashed by the Supreme Administrative Tribunal which today upheld Becker’s claim to protection under the Polish law.

The Administrative Tribunal’s judgment is considered, in principle, as a decision that Czarist laws cannot in the future be applied against Polish Jews.

The Czarist restrictions have been the subject of numerous interpellations in the Polish Sejm and of general Jewish complaint against the Polish Government. The restrictions, numbering hundreds, formed a part of the prewar Russian legal code and affected every possible phase of Jewish life, residential professional, educational, etc.

With the establishment of the Polish Republic, after the war, it was held that the Polish code did not perpetuate the Czarist restrictions, although no special enactment was introduced to abolish them. As a result it was found in practice that they continued to be enforced in all parts of Poland. It was only in September 1930, after considerable agitation, that the Czarist restrictions were finally abolished by law. Even then many of the restrictions continued in force.

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