ment from the Appeal Court that no historical or national feelings of hatred by Jews against Poles were involved.
The Public Prosecutor complained in his speech that the Jewish press had made a big affair out of a small incident. The court was sitting, he said, to deal with the actions of individual persons and not of the whole Jewish people. We have Endeks (members of the National Democratic chauvinistic anti-Semitic party), but the Jews are not all saints either.
In his conclusion, the Public Prosecutor demanded 18 months’ imprisonment for Wulfin.
Advocate Smiarkowsky in his speech for the defense emphasized that the National Democrats had been aggressors, and that the Jews had not attacked anyone. It was possible that in some places where the Jews had been attacked they had engaged in self-defense, but their action was not dictated by racial hatred.
He therefore asked for Wulfin’s acquittal.
Advocate Joseph Czernichow, appearing for Wulfin, repudiated the charge that Jews were damaging the Polish name abroad. On the contrary, he said, they were collaborating with their Polish fellow citizens in the interest of their common country, and Hitler, who was menacing the Jews was menacing also the Polish frontiers.
Advocate Czernichow also complained that the authorities had not given equal treatment to the participants in the November disturbances, for while the Polish students had been handed over to the peace courts, the Jewish students had been transferred to the district court.
The principal thesis on which the verdict of the District Court was based, Advocate Czernichow said, goes far beyonds the limits of the particular case which had to be tried, and signifies that in the November days there were in Vilna not anti-Jewish disturbances, as it generally assumed, but anti Christian, anti-Polish disturbances, and that it was a Jewish mob that started disorders in the Vilna streets, of a nature described as pogroms.
In order to justify this remarkable thesis, it was necessary to set out how and why the Vilna disorders were started. It is admitted that the disorders were started by the Pan-Polish youth, who are led by a political organization which propagates anti-Jewish hatred, the principle of Jewish inferiority, Poland for the Poles, dejudaization of all branches of spiritual and economic life. This body of student youth, undoubtedly under the influence of this ideology, started the disturbances in the were followed up in Vilna by an open and aggressive attack upon the fundamental rights of the Jewish youth to study at the general State universities, and upon the rights which are guaranteed to the Jewish population in the Constitution of the Polish Republic, and especially in Article 3 of the Constitution.
Efforts towards this end were made by physical force and violence. The Jewish students who were peacefully following the lectures, were attacked by crowds of hostile students, thrashed and ejected from the lecture rooms. It has been established that Jewish girl students were not spared.
On the afternoon of November 9th and during the morning of November 10th large processions marched through the Jewish streets, followed by mobs. On November 9th a procession of Jewish students followed that of the Polish students, but that happened only once.
As for the feelings that animated the two processions, Police Commissary Wasilewsky has established that the cries raised by the Jewish procession were “Down with the Endeks” ; “Down with the hooligans” ; “Down with violence as a means of settling the internal affairs of the University!”
The cries raised by the Endek processions were “Down with the Jews”. These cries were heard in the Jewish streets through the whole of the 24 hours from November 9th to 11th.
The motivation of the verdict by the District Court tends to divert these facts and to confuse the entire issue of the November occurrences.
The District Court recognized in its verdict that the disturbances arose out of the improper and criminal attitude of a certain section of the Polish youth, which prevented the Jewish students by violence from entering the main university building and the other buildings of the university, but then it went on to say that this was not the cause of the trouble, but only the pretext, and that the trouble did not finish inside the University walls because of the Jewish youth starting fresh excesses out side the University walls in the streets of Vilna, for which they should be punished.
The Vilna District Court went on to allege that there is among the Jews not only a dislike, but actual enmity to the Christian peoples, suggesting that the excesses at Vilna University by a section of the Polish youth against the Jewish students acted only as oil on the fire of hatred which burns in the souls of the Jews, and broke out in the form of street excesses.
The verdict of the Vilna district court in the trial of the Jewish student Shmuel Wulfin, Advocate Czernichow said, was thus converted into a verdict against the entire Jewish people.
Coming to the actual charge against Wulfin of being concerned in the scene which resulted in the death of Waclawski, Advocate Czernichow said that on the morning of November 10th, there were hundreds of young people of both nationalities in the streets of Vilna.
Among them all, Shmuel Wulfin was one of the least active. He had gone out to meet his colleague, Jacob Boletovsky, in the Slawatski Street, but he did not meet him there, and went back with the intention of going into the house of his uncle, Advocate Z. Wulfin, who lives at No. 11 Trotsky Street. By chance he was held up in the street while the cab carrying the student Waclawski went by. There was great excitement in this street. Since Wulfin was in the street, having been held up by the crush, there is a witness who saw him there and ascribes to him everything that had happened in the Trotsky Street, and even things that did not occur there. Since Wulfin was brought before the court, it has come about that he has been called upon to answer for everything that was done in the November days.
An innocent man has been convicted, Advocate Czernichow concluded his appeal, and I ask for his acquittal.
Congregation Adath Yeshurun, in Elizabeth, N. J., has called Rev. Leon Buckin as its rabbi and cantor. A native of Vilna, Rev. Buckin formerly was identified with Congregation Ahavath Joseph, in Paterson.
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.