Severe criticism is levelled against David A. Brown for his statement that no specific misery exists among the Polish Jewish masses in articles appearing in the Polish and American Jewish Press.
Issue with this declaration, which was made by Mr. Brown in an interview with a representative of the Polish Telegraphic Agency during a recent visit to Warsaw, is taken by such papers as the “Hajnt” of Warsaw, “Unser Express” of Warsaw and by the New York Jewish “Day”.
The “Hajnt” wrote:
“The American ‘delegate’, Mr. Brown, stated in an interview with the Pat (Polish Telegraphic Agency) that while in Poland he saw not the slightest difference in the attitude toward Jew and non-Jew and also no specific Jewish misery.
“When Mr. Brown approached the wicket in the railway station to buy a first class ticket, no difficulties were imposed in his way and they sold a ticket to him as to all other non-Jewish passengers. A seat in the parlor car, with soft Polish cushions was assigned him just as to other non-Jewish passengers. In the diner car, the waiters bowed to him politely and served him with the best and finest.
“The same was true in the Hotel Bristol. He was assigned the handsomest room and the hotel staff was prepared to fulfill his every wish.
“Then Mr. Brown went out for a walk through the Jewish streets to see how Jews live.
“It was an ordinary Wednesday and on Nolevskis, he saw Jews parading with canes in a semi-holiday spirit. In Krashinski’s Garden the benches were crowded with elderly Jews and youths discussing politics, the legendary Red Jews and the stratosphere.
“‘Ah… the Jews here live not so badly’, said Mr. Brown to himself, ‘the non-Jews labor, sweat, drive the trolleys, toil whole days in stifling, crowded offices in government posts; ruin their eyes and acquire hunched backs while the Jews parade with canes and carry on political discussions in the parks’.
“Mr. Brown proceeds, he sees non-Jewish mail carriers loaded with heavy packs of mail, executives with heavy portfolios, everyone is rushing, perspiring, pursuing and the Jews repose themselves in Krashinski’s gardens.
“Ha, Ha, Mr. Brown smiles to the children it’s pretty good to be out in the open, isn’t it? And to himself he says: ‘Not a bad idea on the part of the Jews to take a ‘week-end’ in the middle of the week. But why didn’t they at the same time think of going out into the country with a camp cot and a ‘spirit machine’ for a fire, spending the week-end there?’
“He continues his walk and comes upon a queer spectacle.
“Jews, women old and young are running with baskets of apples, ties, stockings, chocolate, etc., and two men are chasing them.
“Standing thus looking upon the scene, he suddenly notices a group of people. He walks over to them, he sees on the threshold before a door the body of some one who seems to have fainted, a poorly clad woman. People are crowded around her, sprinkling her with water. Someone brings a glass of tea; another hands out several groschen.
They’re shooting a scene for the movies, thinks Mr. Brown. Well directed, good actors…
“And that is how Mr. Brown saw the life of the Jewish masses in Warsaw and therefore declared in his interview with the representatives of the ‘Pat’ that he saw not the slightest indication of special Jewish misery.”
“Unser Express” wrote:
“Recently an American Jew, David Brown, sojourned in Warsaw. He lived in style befitting a moneyed Jew in the Hotel Europejski. He was travelling to China to ‘investigate’ the situation of the Jews there, although no one delegated him to this task. On the same journey, he also ‘investigated’ the situation of the Jews of Poland, although no one requested him to do that either.
“This Mr. Brown is a man without any specific profession. His chief work in America is to hold speeches at meeting where money is collected. It makes no difference to him for what purpose the money is to be assigned, whether to aid the impoverished Polish Jews, or to build a temple in Chicago, or an institution, for example which is occupied with propaganda for a new soap project. He must speak. He has a series of prepared speeches for meetings, and he must utilize them.
“But when such a Jew comes to Warsaw, ‘investigates’ the situation of the Jews, and then gives out an interview that he sees no signs of misery among Polish Jews, he must be told:
“‘Dear Uncle, Stop’
“Our ‘Jewish’ Pat colleagues look for such people as David Brown and lick their fingers after such interviews. The Pat was so greatly pleased with Mr. Brown that it took up the cudgels for him and was wroth at the ‘jargon’ press because it received Mr. Brown so ill and did not even publish any interviews with him.
“We are constrained to inform Mr. Brown that if he desires to view Jewish misery, he should, on his return trip, take a stroll through the Jewish streets and not as before through Nizka, Chamutscha and Stovski streets where misery is today too weak a description Let him walk through Golevkas, Genscha and Franchiskaner streets, there where signs are still hanging and stores are still open. Let him enter the large six-room houses; let him interest himself even in those who still wear a pair of whole shoes, remnants of better days and he will see a terrible picture of Jewish misery.
“He will not find Jewish misery in the Hotel Suropejski or in the Hotel Bristol or even in the office of the director of the Pat.”
The “New York Day” declared:
“David A. Brown, editor of the ‘American Hebrew,’ Executive member of the American Jewish Committee, Joint Distribution Committee, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and active in a host of various reform Jewish organizations, owes an apology to the Jewish world at large.
“He, Brown, being in Warsaw recently, ostensibly to ‘study the situation it is not certain whether upon his own responsibility or as representative of the organizations with which he is identified informed the Poles that Jewish papers in America ‘create a false picture of the Jews in Poland’ and that they blacken, without rhyme or reason, the face of Poland in the eyes of the world. In other words that the Jewish press in America disseminates libels against the poor, innocent Polish government.
“This report David A. Brown presented not to the Jewish public opinion in America, not even through the columns of his own newspaper, but rather to Polish public opinion and the public at large, through the Polish Press Agency, ‘Pat,’ which as every one is aware, is the official press organ of the Polish government.
“In order to justify his charges against the Jewish press in America in the eyes of the Polish government, this Brown offers as a motive the ‘fact’ that ‘he did not see any specific misery among the Jews of Poland, because such misery does not exist.’
“These are words and charges on which Jewish public opinion in America must pause.
“One or the other is possible.
“If no specific Jewish misery exists in Poland and if the Jewish press in America really creates a false picture of the position of the Jews in the Polish republic, something must be done at once.
“We must all fall on our knees in obeisance before the sanctified innocence called Poland and pray for forgiveness for the error of our ways; and counsel for the defense of all of us, whom we must raise on high and whose praises we must sing, must be none other than David A. Brown.
“But if it should be proved that all that has been written not alone by the Jewish Press in America, but also by the Jewish press in Poland in recent years and especially during the last few months, concerning the Jewish situation in Poland, is the truth and nothing but the truth, then
“Something must be done at once also and done in such fashion as to render it impossible for the genus Brown to take journeys ostensibly in the interests of the Jews, to speak in the name of the Jews, and in general to have the front of a Jewish leader.
“Let him repeat here in America for Jewish public opinion to hear that Jews in Poland suffer no special misery; that everything is good and well; that the Polish government treats them as it should; that those who paint a false picture concerning the Jewish position in Poland and libel the Polish government before the world, are the Jewish papers of America.
“Indeed let him do this as quickly as possible, let him present the facts and their proofs to substantiate his charges.
“But if he cannot and does not wish to do so, let us at least be clear on several points.
“Does Mr. Brown wish to deny that he has made such a report to the official press agency of the Polish government?
“And was he correctly quoted?
“In any event, Mr. Brown owes us all an explanation?”
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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.