Prague (Jul. 17)
The catastrophe which broke over German Jewry exerted an unfavorable influence on the Jewish situation in Eastern Europe in two directions, Dr. Aaron Singalowsky, who is now in this city in connection with work on behalf of the Jews of Eastern Europe, believes. He is a member of the presidium of the ORT.
“To a certain extent it diverted the attention of the Jews in the East European countries from their own struggle,” Dr. Singalowsky declared in an interview. “Their indignation at the events in Germany and their sympathy with the German Jews acted as a kind of check, which slackened the vigor with which the Jews of all countries, and especially of Eastern Europe, had been accustomed to defend their own vital interests.”
In this connection he also pointed out that their governments, while sympathizing with the Jewish efforts, thought that they had done enough by merely protecting the bare lives of their Jewish citizens, and could thus ignore their economic needs.
EAST EUROPEANS SUFFER
“In the other direction,” he continued, “the German situation had affected adversely the East European Jews, because the constructive relief work in Eastern Europe, which had been largely carried on by the Jews abroad, had receded into the background. This has happened in view of the anxiety everywhere to work specifically for the German Jews.”
Describing conditions in Poland, Dr. Singalowsky said that the political atmosphere there had cleared.
“Anti-Semiticism is on the wane. It has now forfeited its credit because of the recent occurrences in Germany, even among the reactionaries. This has been the tendency of the anti-Semitic movement, which had since 1933, thanks to the moral support of National Socialism, been putting itself forward as the new State philosophy and method.
“The economic situation in Poland, too, has improved visibly,” the ORT official continued. “It was unfortunate that this could not be said also of the Jews of Poland. But that was due to well-known causes, which had for a long time affected Jewish economic life in a negative direction. Such causes as the official economic policy, the growth of the co-operative movement, combined with certain other factors, like the unsound Jewish social structure, which does not conform to the development and tendencies of the economic environment.
SAYS SYSTEM IS LACKING
“And what makes it still worse is the lack of collective initiative and organization and systematic Jewish economic policy. On top of all these negative factors, there was the Jewish pessimism, the result of the almost unbroken string of suffering, a kind of psychic depression.
“All over the world there was an organized will to economic activity, but in Polish Jewry there, unfortunately, a feeling of apathy. On the basis of thorough investigation I was, nevertheless, able to establish that unfavorable, though conditions are for the Jews, they could be somewhat improved, both in artisanship and in certain branches of trade. This depends on the Jewish public in Poland, for they must deal more energetically with their economic problems, instead of putting all the emphasis on emigration.”
In so far as emigration is concerned, Dr. Singalowsky concluded, the feeling in practically the whole of Polish Jewry is in favor of a concentrated Jewish industrial and agricultural colonization, a new sort of territorialism.