Disagreement on Language Question Leads to Fist Fight Among Warsaw Jewish Leaders
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Disagreement on Language Question Leads to Fist Fight Among Warsaw Jewish Leaders

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The disagreement between those who advocate Yiddish and the supporters of Hebrew as the language of instruction in the Jewish schools in Poland led to a fist fight, as a result of a resolution which was introduced and rejected in the Polish Parliament.

Deputy Noah Prilutzky introduced a resolution urging the Polish Government to grant subsidies for the Yiddish schools. The Club of Jewish Deputies proposed an amendment to the resolution, demanding subsidies for “Hebrew and Yiddish schools.” As no agreement was reached between the Club of Jewish Deputies and Mr. Prilutzky, the Club voted against the resolution and he, in turn, voted against the Club’s amendment. The Sejm rejected the entire resolution.

This parliamentary incident led to severe fights between the advocates of Hebrew and Yiddish. The latter demanded that Isaac Greenbaum, Dr. Joshua Thon and Dr. Shipper be excluded from membership in the Jewish Writers and Journalists’ Association of Poland as “traitors to Yiddish.”

Deputy Prilutzky’s followers arranged a lecture by him in the Club of Jewish Writers and Journalists in order to afford him the opportunity of defending his attitude. When Greenbaum began his address, a fist fight developed in which journalists, writers, deputies and enthusiastic followers of both sides engaged. Police tried to intervene but withdrew from the hall when Deputy Shipper, who presided, assumed responsibility for the conduct of the meeting.

Scholom Ash, the well-known Jewish writer, who was present appealed to the audience, asking them not to dishonor the name of the writer’s club.

Greenbaum was beaten. The meeting ended in chaos, one wing singing the Zionist hymn, Hatkivah, and the other the hymn of the Bundists, The Oath.

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