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Little Lithuania, toward whom the Jews of the world always have been friendly disposed, is now beginning to attract world-wide attention with its anti-Jewish discriminations.
A number of reports this week show that the Lithuanian government is gradually falling under the influence of the anti-Semitic elements in the country centered around the Verslas organization. Anti-Semitic speeches of Verslas members are broadcast on the government radio station and laws and ordinances are being issued with the sole purpose to eliminate Jews from all branches of public and economic life.
It is no longer a secret that a numerus clausus for Jewish students is silently practiced this year by the Lithuanian university. An unusual “health examination” has been introduced for all students wishing to enter the medical faculty and as if by pre-arrangement practically all Jewish applicants were declared physically unfit and thus were not admitted to the university. Nothing faulty, however, was found with their health when they were later taken into the Lithuanian army as soldiers.
EMULATING THE NAZIS
Emulating Germany and Austria, the Lithuanian government has introduced regulations which aim in one way or another to oust Jewish lawyers in Lithuania who already lost their right to practice because of the new regulations which provide that all those who have been practicing law less than five years are no longer to be recognized as full-fledged lawyers.
Simultaneously an ordinance has been issued preventing Jews altogether from becoming lawyers in the future. This ordinance requires that every graduate of the law faculty must work for a number of years in court as an official before being admitted to the bar. Since no Jew is employed in the court system this precludes the possibility of Jews becoming lawyers.
Drastic anti-Jewish ordinances have been issued recently also with regard to Jews acquiring land in Lithuania. A large proportion of Lithuanian Jews make their living from agriculture. Now a new law decrees that no Jew can acquire land in Lithuania unless he has been tilling the soil for not less than ten years.
ANTI-SEMITES INFLUENCE OFFICIALS
As to commerce, the position of the Jews in Lithuania becomes more and more critical every day. The anti-Semitic organization Verslas which united the Lithuanian middle class carries on a systematic anti-Jewish boycott campaign and is successfully influencing the government.
To make the situation worse for professionals and artisans, the Lithuanian government has now issued a law which will require special examinations in the Lithuanian language for every employee in the country. This law affects not only the Jewish artisans who are not so well versed in the Lithuanian tongue, but the bulk of Jewish bookkeepers and other white-collar employees. It includes even servant girls. No person in Lithuania has a right to employ a servant girl if she has not passed a special examination in the Lithuanian language.
Little Lithuania, always supported by the Jews of the world because of its fair treatment of Jews there, now has started on the wrong path. A thorough investigation into the Jewish situation in Lithuania must be instituted by interested Jewish organizations of America and England. Something must be done to make the Lithuanian government feel that the position of the Jews in Lithuania is being keenly watched by the outside world.