(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
A comparison of the Polish Minister of the Interior, General Skladkowski, to the Czaristic Minister of the Interior in Imperial Russia, the late Stolypin, notorious in his time for his persecution of Jews and Poles, created a sharp clash between General Skladkowski and Isaac Gruenbaum, who made the comparison.
At a session of the budget commission during the discussion of the Ministry’s estimates, Gruenbaum pressed General Skladkowski for an explanation of several facts of recent date where anti-Jewish action was seen, or where action to protect Jews was not taken, in the jurisdiction of the Ministry. Deputy Gruenbaum cited the case of the decision by the municipality of Bromberg, Posen, to reject a fund left by an American Jewish woman, Mrs. Cohn of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., for Jewish welfare purposes in Bromberg. He also cited the failure of the police to confiscate a picture circulated in Posen, which portrayed Germans and Jews as the enemies of Poland, as well as the failure of the police of Bromberg to confiscate the edition of the Polish newspaper, Sabbath Courier, accusing Jews of ritual murder. In addition to other instances cited, Deputy Gruenbaum referred to the last session of the Sejm, when the bill to abolish the Czaristic prohibition on land purchase in the eastern provinces was discussed, and charged that Prime Minister Bartel, by his action then showed that he was in favor of retaining the Czaristic limitation against the Jews.
At this point General Skladkowski interrupted the speaker, exclaiming, “This is absolutely untrue. I declare officially in behalf of the government that it has never aimed to oppress the Jewish population. Your actions make it impossible for the government to carry out its plans in favor of the Jewish population. You interfere with your noise over trivial things.”
This brought the retort of deputy Gruenbaum, “So spoke Stolypin. He praised the Polish leader Dmowski and blamed Pilsudski.”
General Skladkowski in anger exclaimed, “If I speak like Stolypin, you better keep still.”
The chairman of the committee drew to the attention of Deputy Gruenbaum that the analogy was improper and declared that he would not permit him to continue if he continues in the same vein. Deputy Gruenbaum then concluded his remarks by stating: “We do not interfere with the government. We demand action, not words.” Deputy Stipinski of the pro-government bloc declared that Gruenbaum’s comparison of a Polish government member to Stolypin was an insult, which will always be objected to.
The clash in the parliamentary committee had wide repercussions in the Polish and Jewish press takes the position that while Gruenbaum was essentially correct in charging the government with inactivity in relation to the demands of the Jewish population, his comparison of General Skladkowski to Stolypin was tactless and regrettable, Deputy Gruenbaum should be more cautious and thus spare himself and the Jewish population much unpleasantness.
The “Gloss Prawdy,” government organ, declares that Gruenbaum’s remarks can give the impression that the Polish government has encouraged anti-Jewish pogroms and the growth of anti-Semitism. Gruenbaum’s accusations are based merely on insignificant facts, the paper states.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.