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Abandon Jew-baiting, Lithuanian Official Warns Trade Body

A Government spokesman today warned the anti-Semitic merchants’ organization, Verslininkai, to abandon its Jew-baiting activities as “harmful to Lithuania’s economic interests. “The warning was voiced by Domas Micutas, director of consumption statistics in the Economics Minister, at a convention of the Verslininkai in Polangen.

Addressing the same session, Justice Minister Antanas Tomasaitis stressed the necessity to “Lithuanize” the nation’s cities through civilized method that avoided creation of tension among the various nationalities.

The effect of both speeches was considerably bolstered by receipt of a message from American Lithuanians which warned that a projected campaign by a Verslininkai delegation to the United States was doomed to failure if the organization’s anti-Semitic propaganda were not discontinued.

As a result, the convention put a damper on its usual anti-Jewish tone and instead concentrated its attack upon “alien nationals.” Resolutions called upon the Government to compel new Jewish enterprises to employ Lithuanians, demanded that the National Bank no longer grant credits to alien-owned businesses and urged the Government to increase subsidies to Verslininkai organizations.

Despite precautionary police measures and a warning, transmitted by the authorities through the Polangan rabbinate, to Jews not to appear in public places during the congress, several Jewish passersby were manhandled and wounded in street demonstrations after adjournment of the sessions. Holding of the congress at Polangen, a seaside resort, heavily damaged holiday trade, most Jewish visitors having cancelled bookings at hotels, while boarding houses and places of entertainment were almost deserted.

Meanwhile, the Verslininkai delegation to the United States left for New York. Headed by the notorious anti-Semite Bredis, editor of Verslas, the delegation will seek to raise funds in the United States “to combat Jewish influence in the economic life of Lithuania.”

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