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Official Anti-semitism

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Member of the Polish Parliament

That anti-Semitism here is growing daily and is actually beginning to dominate all walks of life is no longer a secret to anyone. Nor is it news that the outspokenly anti – Semitic press no longer has a monopoly on anti-Semitism, as was formerly the case. Indeed, there seems to have been a sort of democratization of practically the whole Polish press in this respect.

The so-called liberal press, too, or that press which wishes to be considered liberal, does not stop at clearly anti-Semitic expression, quite as though it saw no conflict between such expression and the liberalism to which it supposedly subscribes. Nor is it news that political groups which until recently had nothing in common with the anti-Jewish program and which, in fact, fought it on numerous occasions, are more and more adopting anti-Semitic slogans.


Of late we feel these changes in almost every contact with the non-Jewish citizens of the country. The atmosphere is so charged with anti-Semitism that it is actually becoming painful to encounter a non-Jew and attempt a conversation with him.

As a matter of fact, the anti-Semitic problem has reached such a stage, even from the governmental point of view, that official circles no longer make any attempt to combat its steady rise.

One thing is certain. The campaign is being carried on principally by the Endeks, whose chief aim is, in the last analysis, to strike at the government and at the same time win back the masses over which they have lost control. Thus they hope to kill two birds with the same stone.

It is quite evident that the government is making no effort to oppose this campaign. What is more, it is itself adopting the Endek anti-Semitic slogans and gradually giving them realization. The ostensible purpose of this is, on the advice of certain governmental theoreticians, to rob the Endeks of their sting.


On the face of it, it seems superfluous to demonstrate how naive and even ludicrous this method of combatting the Endeks is. In the first place, those at the helm of the state and responsible for it cannot by a mere wave of the hand dismiss the three and a half million Jews residing in the land and demanding the right to live unmolested. In the second place, persons who are pledged to preserve the Polish Constitution can never be in a position to compete with the Endeks in the sphere of persecution of the Jews. This must be especially true when the Endeks are comfortably able to carry on a demagogic campaign, since they are not burdened by the responsibility of maintaining peace and order in the land.

There is not any need to mention the fact that the Endek anti-Semitic activity has a deleterious effect not only upon the Jewish population but upon many elements which have nothing in common with the Jews.


In the first few months of its reign the government group impressed the general population by its decisiveness and firmness. Its liberal and clearly and concisely predicated slogans won the sympathy and support of very large sections of the people. This also helped to strengthen Poland’s position in the international forum. At home and abroad the government bloc seemed composed of courageous, determined individuals, the only ones equipped to lead so important a power as Poland.

But, at least insofar as internal affairs are concerned, the situation has altered somewhat. The government bloc is showing much less courage and determination than heretofore. It has proved especially weak in dealing with the Endek problem. It lacked the courage openly to declare that the Jewish population not only shared the duties of all the population to the state, but also had equal rights with the rest.


Symptomatic of the new state of affairs are the pronouncements made recently by several publicists of the government group with regard to Jewish questions. One reads the articles and feels like rubbing his eyes in wonder, because only yesterday and the day before the same writers were radicals and liberals, many of them with a past rich in liberal accomplishment, persons who all their lives had fought bravely and determinedly for justice, equality and humanness. And how insignificantly awkward they now appear in their attempt to avoid open and direct statement.

The government bloc must pull itself out of the anti-Semitic fog. The individuals who have such an exalted liberal tradition behind them will — we hope—finally realize what is happening in the country right now and will refuse to let themselves be led astray any longer by native and foreign shortsighted theoreticians and cowardly pathfinders.

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