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Sholem Asch, Here for J.D.C. Tour, Sees Hope for Polish Jews

April 23, 1937
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Sholem Asch, the author, arriving on the Conte di Savoia today for a tour of the country in behalf of the Joint Distribution Committee campaign, had a message of hope on the future of the Polish Jews.

There are many Christians in Poland, he said, “particularly the working classes, peasants and democratic elements, that have shown fine courage in helping us fight the unjust discrimination, and this gives hope that the day is not so far when reason, truth and justice shall prevail within the boundaries of Poland.”

He declared that “we have good reason to believe that the time is not far distant when it will be understood that the economic plight of the Polish Jewry is inseparable from that of all the Polish people.” He added that many elements in Poland had now become aware that the Jewish problem “is fundamentally a Polish problem and one that can, and must, be solved within the Polish nation.”

Many in Poland have seen that hatred has not helped, but only harmed Poland, the author said. “Beating a Jew and hatred may destroy one and another Jew, but it will destroy the morale of the Polish nation.” He explained that under the Russian regime the Poles had learned to disregard law, while under the Polish Republic they were being trained to respect law, while and the violation of law by anti-Jewish violence was undermining the teachings of the late Marshal Pilsudski.

He scouted emigration as a solution to the problem of the Polish Jews. “The doors of the world are closed for immigration of any scale at all,” he said. “Only a very small portion of Polish Jewry has so far found a home in Palestine and other countries. The great masses of Polish Jewry must remain in Poland. Any attempts that may be made to solve the problem of Polish Jewry outside the boundaries of Poland are unreal and fantastic and are bound to meet with failure.”

He put up to the Polish Government the task of changing the economic structure of the Jews. The Government, he said, was responsible for anti-Semitism in the sense that it created the atmosphere necessary for agitation by doing nothing to combat anti-Jewish incitement. There was no real reason for the attitude Poland has taken toward the Jews, Mr. Asch held, except the reason created by Hitler. He charged that Germany was financing anti-Semitism in Poland.

Mr. Asch, who is an American citizen living at Nice, will spend six to eight weeks in the United States.

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