Sejm Body Adopts Anti-shechita Bill; Mme. Prystor Assails Jews
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Sejm Body Adopts Anti-shechita Bill; Mme. Prystor Assails Jews

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Deputy Janina Prystor’s bill to outlaw shechita, Jewish ritual method of slaughtering animals, was rushed through the special Parliament commission today with only the Jewish and Ukrainian members voting against it.

The complete text of the measure was adopted by the commission. An amendment offered by Government representatives which would permit ritual slaughter sufficient for Jewish requirements was rejected. Rejection of the amendment was voted despite warnings that the bill without it was unconstitutional since it violates the right of freedom of religious observance. The warnings were voiced by Dr. Bronslaw Zongollowicz, Catholic priest and Vice-Minister of Cults, acting as the Government’s representative.

Conspicuous by their absence from the hearing were representatives of particularly interested ministries, such as the ministries of economics and the interior. This absence is interpreted to mean that they are unwilling to define their attitude on the Prystor measure.

In a sharp debate that preceded adoption of the bill, Dr. Emil Sommerstein, Jewish deputy, demanded that it be transferred to a constitutional commission. His motion to that effect was rejected.

Mme. Prystor, wife of the Senate’s president, in speaking for her measure sharply attacked the Jews, declaring it was not her business to be concerned about the Jewish religion. She assailed shechita as being “against my religion, against my country, against our ethical conceptions and against our pockets.” Urging the commission “not to be browbeaten by the Jews,” she characterized their appeals to the rest of Europe as treason and declared that those responsible for the appeals had no right to Polish citizenship.

Mme. Prystor’s measure, introduced into Parliament on Feb. 7, would compel the stunning of animals before slaughter, a method which contravenes the Jewish orthodox code. It would impose jail sentences not exceeding three months and 3,000-zloty maximum fines for violation. It would go into effect Jan. 1, 1937. If the measure is enacted into law, it is estimated that a large majority of the 3,500,000 Jews of Poland would be forced to go meatless.

While the bill was being rushed through the committee, Jews throughout Poland spent the day in a protest fast and praying against the bill.

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