Change in Dues System Urged by Polish Jewish Communities

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That action should be taken to secure an amendment to the new law which completely transforms the system of membership dues to the Jewish communities of Poland was the decision reached at a conference held here by representatives of the largest Polish communities.

The amendment, it was suggested, should be so stated so that the dues levied from merchants and industrialists should be from a half to one per thousand on the basis of the turnover tax. It was also suggested in the report that a commission should be appointed to maintain contact with the Minister of Education and Public Worship.

The new law, basing the dues on income, would turn the members of the Jewish community administrations into involuntary informers, to make the state aware of the amount of tax payable by each individual. Besides, it was pointed out, Jews do not consider the payment of contributions to the Jewish communities as a compulsory tax. They realize that this is a contribution that must be paid whether they have any income during the year or not.

The report submitted to the conference points out that the law fundamentally changes the system of calling in contribution dues, and is catastrophic to the Jewish communities, who will find themselves without any means of covering their expenditure.

The law fixes, for example, the contribution dues from merchants and industrialists to the extent of ten per cent of the trading licenses, so that instead of a merchant in Warsaw paying 6,000 zlotys a year in dues as at present, the wealthiest merchant will under the new law pay no more than 200 zlotys a year. With regard to the liberal professions the law fixes the dues at ten per cent of their income tax. This, the report says, will mean that a doctor or a lawyer will have to pay more in dues than a factory owner who employs a hundred workers.

SECURE STATUS QUO

Advocate Seideman one of the leading authorities on the Jewish community system in Poland, said that the only way for the Jewish communities was to secure the retention of the status quo, that the communities should continue to be autonomous bodies and should themselves assess the dues payable by each member.

M. Mazur, the president of the Warsaw Jewish community, said that he had studied the question in a number of Jewish communities abroad, and had come to the conclusion that contribution dues should be raised on income tax. In Berlin, for example, the government fixed the contribution dues to the Jewish communities on the basis of eleven per cent of the income tax. That had proved to be inadequate, and it was increased to twenty per cent. Since the income of the Polish Jews is much less, the contribution dues in Poland should be thirty-three per cent.

SUGGESTS COMMITTEE

M. Mazur suggested the appointment of a committee to interview the Minister of Education and Public Worship and also the appointment of a permanent committee of lawyers to deal with the legal aspect of the question.

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