Warsaw (Mar. 19)
The situation of the Jewish population in Poland did not change for the better after the war, but for the worse. The number of people who are in want has grown not less but more, very much more, the “Folkchilf”, the organ of the Jewish Loan and Savings Banks and of the Jewish social welfare work in Poland, writes. The altered post-war conditions, it continues, has made it necessary also for the Jewish Communities to change their method of relief work. We no longer Have to deal with sharply defined categories of poor people, whom it is enough to give a few shillings or some food. We have to deal now with an entirely different class of people. The changes of occupation among the Jewish population and their altered social structure, the prolonged economic crisis which has revealed the economic weakness of the Jewish masses, all compel the Jewish Communities to revise their previous philanthropic methods and a dept a new, modern and productive form of relief work. There are also changes of a psychological character to be considered. We can no longer dispense relief in the manner of the old philanthropists in their dealings with the poor. We find among the applicants for relief now people who once occupied an entirely different position in society, who have come down in the world through no fault of their own – victims of the economic crisis. The relief work of the Jewish Communities must be directed along two lines now – relieving the so-called professional poor and relieving those people who were once well-to-do people, and have become impoverished only because of the economic crisis. In the case of the first category, too, there are ways of organising the relief work on more modern and rational lines. This element is not always made up of lazy good-for-nothings. If proper work is undertaken, it should be possible to transform this type of professional schnorrer into a productive element, and the Jewish Communities must proceed to the productivisation of these people by pushing them into work, instead of training them to be parasites, living on doles and charity. As for the second element, these are mostly honest working people or professional men or traders who have lost their capital or have been thrust out of their economic positions. They need such aid which will give them a chance of resuming to some extent at least the positions which they once held or finding new openings. We must not forget, the paper concludes, that this second element embraces nowadays the great majority of our Jewish middle-class, especially in the small towns; that will give us an idea of the real extent and importance of organised social relief work.