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Jewish Candidate Elected to Poland’s Parliament

The one lone Jew elected last week to Poland’s Sejm (Parliament), 67-year-old Shimon Szurmiej, was the first since 1950 whose Jewish background was mentioned during the campaign, this reporter learned during a short visit to Warsaw this month.

Szurmiej is the director of the Warsaw Yiddish State Theatre and head of the Cultural Association of the Jews in Poland — the representative body of Polish Jewry. He has visited Israel twice.

Three Jews represented the Jewish community officially in the pre-war Sejm. After Poland came under Communist control, there were several Jewish party members in the 460-member Sejm, but their Jewish background was never mentioned.