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Latvian Minister Assails Jewish Students

May 3, 1923
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Speaking at the conference of the Latvian Peasants’ Union, Mr. Gajlit, the Minister for Education, declared that the Jewish students had overflowed the Russian, German and Latvian schools of the country. Only 32 per cent of the Jewish youth in the country attended the Jewish schools, he stated.

The Jewish students “had offended the soul” of the Latvian university youth, and this was the sole cause of excesses which had taken place at the Riga high school. The Government, he concluded, will make it its aim to carry into effect the well-founded demands of the Latvian students.

It having been stated that the Latvian government, on the initiative of Mr. Gailit, the Minister for Education, was preparing a new numerous clausus project against the Jewish students, the Jewish deputies Fischman, Dubin and Nurok have interviewed Mr. Bernis, the Minister for the Interior, to inquire regarding the attitude of the Government. Mr. Bernis replied that it was still undecided when the Cabinet would be able to deal with the question. Nothing had been said about formal restrictions against Jews at the universities.

A proposal was made that students of means should pay the fees for students unable themselves to pay. The Minister for Education had prepared a bill providing that about 500 students without means, including twenty-five Jews, would not be called upon to pay tuition fees. Instead, those students who are possessed of means would be required to pay 15,000 Latvian roubles annually each to meet the difference.

Mr. Gajlit is understood to have instructed the University authorities that at the enrollment of students, particular attention should be paid to the knowledge of the Latvian language possessed by the candidates.

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