Jewish Communists in Poland Start Campaign Against Organized Religious Community

The fight that has been brewing behind the scenes for a long time between polish Jewish Communists, on the one hand, and the organized Jewish religious community on the other hand, has broken into the open, according to the Folkstimme, Yiddish-language daily newspaper published in Warsaw.

Emergence of the “kulturkampf” among the Polish Jews into an open fight was seen in two separate articles that appeared in the latest issue of the newspaper, received here today. One of the articles reports factually about two meetings held by the organized Jewish religious community. The second article is a virtual declaration of war against the religious organization by the Communist-dominated United Jewish Cultural Organizations of Poland.

At the meetings of the religious group, a report of the organization’s activities was given by Itzhak Frankel, an engineer and chairman of the religious community. He reported that the organization has extended its work of providing Hebrew school teachers who conduct courses in religious subjects; runs kosher kitchens providing free noonday meals to about 1, 500 Jewish people; has trained men for the profession of kosher slaughtering; is increasing the number of men trained to perform circumcisions; has reorganized the conduct of ritual baths in Polish Jewish communities.

The religious Jews adopted resolutions calling for establishment of their own matzoh-baking plants in Poland, and to improve supervision over Jewish cemeteries. Another resolution called for the religious community’s executive committee to hold meetings regularly every two months. A hint of the fight with the Jewish Communists was seen in one resolution which “criticized sections of the Jewish community that carry on work not acceptable to religious Jews.”

Countering the religious group, the Folkstimme articles declared that “some elements in the Jewish population are attempting to transform the congregational organizations into a political organization.” It particularly attacked the religious group for its interest in the kitchens providing free meals, declaring that there are people who obtain these free meals and “as a result lead a parasitical existence.”

The article reported that the Cultural Organizations held a national executive committee meeting which adopted a resolution declaring: “The executive committee and all local organizations are instructed to concentrate their activities against those elements which attempt to direct the feelings of religious Jews toward political aims and purposes which have nothing to do with freedom of religious practice.”

NEXT STORY