Conference on Poland Demands Restoration of Equal Rights for Jews
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Conference on Poland Demands Restoration of Equal Rights for Jews

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Restoration of equal rights for Polish Jewry, as promised in the Versailles Treaty establishing the Polish Republic, was demanded today at a conference at the Hotel Commodore called by the American Jewish Congress to consider the situation of Jews in Poland.

The conference, attended by 1,500 representatives of Jewish organizations in New York and vicinity, appealed to “those large sections of the Polish population opposed to anti-Semitism and to all liberty-loving Poles in America” to join in this demand “to prevent national dishonor by Poland.”

In a formal statement addressed to the Polish Government, three general grievances were listed.

1.– Systematic denial by the Polish Government of rights guaranteed Jews by the Treaty of Versailles and the constitution of Poland.

2.– Direct and indirect support by the Government to a “system of economic discrimination, to a vicious organized anti-Semitic movement, to a system of violence and boycott against Jews which has swept through the country unchecked by representatives of government or by the organs of public opinion”;

3.– Efforts by the Government to seek solution of the Jewish problem by trying to bring about “expatriation of its Jewish citizens,” on the grounds of alleged “superfluity.”

The statement commended the Government for refusing to institute “ghetto” benches for Jewish students in universities.

The double keynote of the session, reiterated frequently by the two principal speakers, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and Dr. Samuel Margoshes, comprised the inaugural statement by President Roosevelt that no “faithful, law-abiding group” in America will ever be regarded as superfluous and the declaration that American Jewry had “no desire to war on Poland.”

With two representatives of the Polish Telegraphic Agency present, both speakers assailed bitterly implied threats against American Jews contained in an open letter to Dr. Wise and Dr. Margoshes by the New York District of the Guild of Polish Writers of America. “We are not afraid of these threats,” Dr. Margoshes declared. “We are not conducting a campaign against Poland; we are only telling the truth about Poland.”

Commenting on an interview given the New York Times correspondent in Geneva by Foreign Minister Josef Beck, Dr. Wise characterized “the Beck of Geneva, the Beck of the New York Times, as an apologetic human being, who speaks like a man more than half ashamed of what he said before the Sejm.”

Dr. Wise said that if “the Beck of the Times had spoken before the Sejm, this conference would not have been called.”

A momentary uproar was occasioned by a Revisionist who, from a balcony above the speaker’s platform, shouted objections to a statement by Dr. Wise characterizing as “apostates” Vladimir Jabotinsky (leader of the New Zionist Organization) and any other Jews who conducted negotiations with Col. Beck and the Polish Government for emigration of three millions of Jews.

Described as “the voice of America speaking in behalf of Polish Jewry, messages to the conference were read in part from 11 Governors, 23 Senators and 90 Congressmen.

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