Will Marshal Pilsudski’s Promises to Jews be Fulfilled? Why the Delay? Leaders Ask in Memorandum (By our Warsaw Correspondent)
Direct and specific questions relating to the Jewish situation in Poland were forwarded to Marshal Josef Pilsudski, Prime Minister and practically the dictator of Poland, in the memorandum submitted to him on behalf of the Jewish National Council of Warsaw, a Zionist body.
Over the signatures of the Zionist deputies and senators, Marshal Pilsudski is reminded of the promises given by his government in July 1926, following the May revolution which returned him to power. In the fifteen months that have elapsed since then only four points in the program promised to the Jewish population were carried into effect.
The memorandum begins by drawing attention to the statement of policy made in July 1926 by Professor Bartel, who was then Prime Minister, that the Government would apply loyally the provisions of the Constitution and of the treaties concluded by the State, to carry into effect as quickly as possible a proper method of regulating the question of citizenship in the interests of the national minorities. Taking the attitude that economic anti-Semitism is harmful to the State, Professor Bartel had continued, the Government regards it as necessary to maintain in its activity the principles of objectiveness and justice. It was of the opinion that the hours of labor should be regulated, and that all legal restrictions against the Jews issued by the previous Occupation Power should be abolished.
You were at the time Minister of War in Professor Bartel’s Cabinet and his speech was made with your agreement, the memorandum goes on, addressing the Marshall. The change in the Cabinet, by which you became Premier and Professor Bartel Vice-Premier did not affect these pledges, by which you are consequently bound.
The Jewish population, it further says, has waited patiently for these promises to be realized, only reminding the Government of them from time to time through its representatives in the Sejm and Senate. The undersigned Deputies have frequently discussed the details by which they could be realized both with the Vice-Premier, Professor Bartel, who represents you, and with the various Ministers of Departments, and they were always assured that the Government has not changed its attitude with regard to the Jews and that its promises will be carried out.
Nearly fifteen months have gone by like this since the statement of policy referred to was made, and out of the entire program less than four points have been carried into effect. 1) The abolition of the circular issued by the former Education Minister Glombinski, which allowed for the restriction of the number of students admitted to the High School, without the need of obtaining permission every time from the Minister of Education. (2) The granting of public rights to the first three classes at one of the Hebrew High Schools, although the inspections made on two occasions in the Hebrew High Schools have brought favorable reports in regard to all the eight classes in a number of the Hebrew High Schools. (3) The clearing up of the question of the right to use the Yiddish and Hebrew languages at meetings and in the border districts. (4) The extension to Galicia of the validity of the decree of February 7. 1919 regarding the Jewish communities. At the same time the formula has been changed not in accordance with our demands.
That is all. After fifteen months, taking our stand on the pledges which you publicly assumed, we have a right to ask you:
(1) Why has the Government not abolished the legal restrictions against the Jewish population in order to fulfil loyally Articles 99 and 111 of the Constitution and Article 7 of the Versailles Treaty? The Warsaw Government Commissioner officially declared only four months ago that these restrictions are still valid, and he invoked them in a circular aimed at prohibiting Christians from adopting the Jewish faith.
(2) Why has the Compulsory Sunday Law not been set aside, since it was created for reasons of economic anti-Semitism and is ruining the Jews economically and is in violation of their rights of conscience–especially in view of the fact that the Commission of Experts at the Ministry of the Interior, which is composed exclusively of Socialists who are concerned to maintain intact the present hours of labor, submitted to the Government long ago a bill with regard to the Compulsory Sunday Observance Law which will meet the position?
(3) Why has the Government, regardless of Articles 9 and 10 of the Versailles Treaty, not yet agreed to subsidize the Hebrew and Yiddish schools out of the funds at its disposal?
(4) Why has the Government limited itself to giving public rights only to three of the higher classes in the Hebrew High School, notwithstanding the favorable reports of the two inspections which have been made?
(5) Why have no elections been ordered for the Jewish communities in the border districts, and why has no heed been paid to the wishes of the Jews with regard to the abolition of the right of appointing members instead of electing them, fixing the rights and duties of the communities in accordance with the real position in their localities and the further democratization of the franchise when the decree was issued by which the provisions of the Jewish Communities Ordinance existing in Congress Poland extended to Galicia?
(6) Why has the Government not taken steps to prevent the application of the percentage form restrictions in the admission of Jewish student to the High Schools?
(7) Why are Jews in the Province of Posen denied the right of registering their names to immorable town property which is purchased by Jews?
(8) Why have various, Governors of provinces ordered that the town markets should be transferred from the present market places to sections of the town where the houses all belong to Christians, who refuse to let the shops to Jews?
(9) Why after the comparatively short Liberal regime of the Minister Mlodzianowski, are difficulties again being put in the way of Jews obtaining Polish citizenship, even the decisions of the highest Administrative Tribunal on the subject being ignored?
(10) Why has the Government, in spite of the assurances that the Jews will be treated as citizens who have equal rights, included in its budget for the current year a sum for the requiremens of the Jewish faith which works out at 3 Groszen per head of the Jewish population, while the sum allocated for the requirements of the Catholic religion works out at 1 Zloty 30 Groszen per head, although the Jews are in proportion more heavily taxed, and while even the Moslem religion has had allocated for its requirements a sum which works out at 1 Zloty per head? Does the Government intend to remedy this grievance, during the current year?
We touch here of course, the memorandum concludes, only on questions which do not go outside the province of the Government’s executive powers, and do not fall into the category of questions of principle with regard to the organization of the Jewish population and their national rights. We trust that you will not evade giving us a straight answer to these questions in the form of a public declaration.
The memorandum was signed by Deputies I. Greenbaum. A. Hartglass. Rabbi S. Brodt. H. Farbstein, Dr. S. Feldman, M. Helman, A. Levinson, Dr. J. Rosenblatt, S. Stuczinski. Dr. J. Shipper. Dr. S. Weinzieher, Dr. J. Wigodsky and Senators M. Koerner and Rabbi I. Rubinstein:
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.