50 Jews Wounded in Polish Riot; Damage Put at $400,000
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50 Jews Wounded in Polish Riot; Damage Put at $400,000

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The Government today rushed police reinforcements into the Polesia province as anti-Semitic rioting in the town of Brzesc (formerly known as Brest-Litovsk), which caused injuries to 50 Jews and an estimated $400,000 damage, gave signs of spreading to neighboring villages.

Windows were broken, shops looted and Jews attacked in the streets in the rioting which occurred after a policeman had been fatally wounded, according to an official statement, by a Jewish butcher who resisted arrest for operating an unlicensed slaughterhouse. The butcher was wounded in the foot by a bullet.

The excesses raged all day and into the evening before the police, aided by reinforcements from Warsaw, got control. Three Jews were seriously injured. Most of the Jewish shops in the town were demolished and others closed their doors.

Many peasants attending market day in Brzesc participated in the rioting, dragging Jews from hansoms and beating them in the streets. Main trading streets suffered most from vandalism and looting. Market, May, Dluga and Dombrowska streets were thickly carpeted with glass from broken windows and destroyed merchandise.

Gazeta Polska and other Government newspapers said the anti-Semitic mob did not pillage the Jewish shops but only “threw Jewish goods out into the street where they were destroyed, while meat and bread taken from Jews were distributed gratis to poor Christians.”

Polish newspapers said the pillaging began after a Jewish mob attacked police who arrived to confiscate illegally-slaughtered kosher meat (outside the strict Government quota for kosher meat) of the Jewish butcher Isaac Szczerbowski.

The policeman, Stefan Kedziora, was stabbed and later died in the hospital. The Union of Christian Tradesmen of Brzesc announced that shops of its members would be closed during his funeral.

Panic was still great today among the 25,000 Jews of the city. Deputy Emil Sommerstein left for Brzesc this morning while Senator Moses Schorr obtained assurances from the Interior Ministry that a special police force had been sent to prevent further outbreaks. The city known to Jews as Brisk, has a population of over 50,000.

Stringent restrictions on kosher slaughtering which went into effect Jan. 1 under a law enacted by Parliament, empowering the authorities to set monthly quotas of cattle to be slaughtered for Jewish consumption, have, in some cases, resulted in “bootleg” slaughterhouses being established.

Meanwhile, peasants in Zaista, near Malkin, attacked a group of anti-Semitic National Radicals who had rioted against Jews. The terrorists, known as Naras, called on the peasants to join in breaking windows of Jewish shops, but the peasants drove the rioters from the village.

The peasants later rebuked the Jews for closing their shops during the disturbances, declaring “the action is likely to incite further attacks.” The peasants asked the Jews to reopen their shops, promising them protection.

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