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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Poland 04: 1919-1939

Borderlines and anti-Semitic state's policy of "independent" anti-Semitic Poland in the name of "nationalism" - numerus clausus, discriminations - emigration wave - racist Zionists and anti-Zionists

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13,
                  col. 743-744. [[Jewish women at a market place selling
                  apples]]. Jewish type in Poland between World War I
                  and World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 743-744. [[Jewish women at a market
place selling apples]]. Jewish type in Poland between World War I
and World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York

from: Poland; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 13

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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[[The anti-Semitic Church is the main force of anti-Semitism - the anti-Semitic Church as the main cause of anti-Semitism - the anti-Semitic Church is never mentioned in the article]].

[Borderlines of "independent" Poland since 1919]

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col.
                719-720. Map of Poland with the Provincial distribution
                of Polish Jewry in towns and villages (1931). Based on
                data from R. Mahler: "Yehudei Polin bein Shetei
                Milhamot Olam", 1968
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 719-720. Map of Poland with the Provincial
distribution of Polish Jewry in towns and villages (1931). Based on data from R. Mahler:
"Yehudei Polin bein Shetei Milhamot Olam", 1968

<INDEPENDENT POLAND.

As a result of World War I and the unexpected collapse of the three partitioning powers, Poland was reconstituted as a sovereign state. The final boundaries, not determined until 1921, represented something of a compromise between the federalist dreams of Pilsudski and the more ethnic Polish conception of R. *Dmowski. To Congress Poland, purely Polish save for its large Jewish minority, were added Galicia, Poznania, Pomerania, parts of Silesia, areas formerly part of the Russian northwestern region, and the Ukrainian province of Volhynia. The new state was approximately one-third non-Polish, the important minorities being the Ukrainians, Jews, Belorussians, and Germans.

[Polish nationalism with anti-Jewish propaganda is going on - pogroms, e.g. Lvov 1918 and Vilna 1919]

The heritage of the war years was a particularly tragic one for Polish Jewry. The rebirth of Poland, which many Jews had hoped for, was accompanied by a campaign of terror directed by the Poles (as by the invading Russian army in the early years of the war) against them. The Jews too often found themselves caught between opposing armies - between the Poles and the Lithuanians in Vilna, between the Poles and the Ukrainians in Lvov, and between the Poles and the Bolsheviks during the war of 1920. And it is probably no accident that the two major pogroms of this period, in Lvov in 1918 and in Vilna in 1919, occurred in multi-national areas where national feelings reached their greatest heights.

The triumph of Polish nationalism, far from leading to a rapprochement between Jews and Poles, created a legacy of bitterness which cast its shadow over the entire interwar period. For the Poles the war years proved that the Jews were "anti-Polish", "pro-Ukrainian", "pro-Bolshevik", etc. For the Jews the independence of Poland was associated with pogroms.

[[Add to this the Russian markets were cut by the new borderlines and the fight of the systems, and also Austria-Hungary was parted into many national states which had no intention to install a customs union. So the trade was hindered by many borderlines, and the Russian market was lost for the capitalist national states. By this the economies in eastern Europe were never recovering and anti-Semitism had the direct aim to eliminate the positions of the Jews, see Joint]].

[100,000 Jews killed in Ukrainian Polish war 1919-1921]

<The sense of disaster was already deeply embedded in the consciousness of European Jews by the events which followed right after the end of World War I. The far greater horrors of the Nazi Holocaust have by now half obscured the murder of about (col. 1054)

one hundred thousand Jews, including women and children, in the Russian-Polish borderland, where Ukrainian and counter-revolutionary Russian army units systematically engaged in killing Jews in the years 1919-21. (col. 1055)>
(from: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Zionism, vol. 16, col. 1054-1055)

[Foundation of Poland with protection of minorities in the constitution - hope for autonomy]

The legal situation of the Jews in independent Poland was, on the surface, excellent. The Treaty of *Versailles, concluded between the victorious powers and the new states, included provisions protecting the national rights of minorities; in the Polish treaty Jews wee specifically promised their own schools and the Polish state promised to respect the Jewish sabbath. The Polish constitution, too, declared that non-Poles would be allowed to foster [[use]] their national traditions, and formally abolished all discrimination due to religious, racial, or (col. 738)

national differences. The Jews were recognized by the state as a nationality, something the [[racist]] Zionists and other Jewish nationalists had long fought for.

[[This was the basic fault of world policy: Jews are not a nationality, but they are a religion. When they were seen as a nationality, anybody could say they would be a strange nationality]].

There were great hopes [[of the racist Zionists]] that the Jews would be allowed to develop their own national institutions on the basis of national autonomy. These hopes were not fulfilled.

[No acknowledgment for Jewish schools - numerus clausus and discriminations against the strange Jewish nation]



Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col.
                741-742. Heder (Ḥeder) [[Jewish religious school to age
                of 13]] c. 1930. Courtesy YIVO, New York.
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 741-742. Heder (Ḥeder)
[[Jewish religious school to age of 13]] c. 1930. Courtesy YIVO, New York.

The two cornerstones of Jewish autonomy - the school and the kehillah [[congregation]] (see *Community) - were not allowed to develop freely. The state steadfastly refused to support Jewish schools, save for [[with the exception of]] a relatively small number of elementary schools closed on Saturday which possessed little Jewish content. The Hebrew-language *Tarbut [[cultural]] schools, along with the Yiddish-language CYSHO (see *Education) network, were entirely dependent on Jewish support, and the diplomas issued by the Jewish high schools were not recognized by the Ministry of Education. The Jewish schools were successful as pedagogical institutions, but the absence of state support made it impossible for them to lay the foundation for a thriving [[growing]] Jewish national cultural life in Poland.

As for the kehillah [[congregation]], projected by Jewish nationalists as the organ of Jewish national autonomy on the local level, it was kept in tight check by the government. While elections to the kehillah were made democratic, enabling all Jewish parties to participate on a basis of equality, the government constantly intervened to support its own candidates, usually those of the orthodox *Agudat Israel. By the same token the government controlled the budgets of the kehillot [[congregations]]. These institutions remained essentially what they had been in the preceding century, concerned above all with the religious life of the community.

Far from barring discrimination against non-Poles, the policy of the interwar Polish state was to promote the ethnic Polish element at the expense of the national minorities, and above all at the expense of the Jews, who were more vulnerable than the essentially peasant Slav groups. The tradition of numerus clausus was continued at the secondary school and university level, efforts were made to deprive [[rob]] the "Litvaks" of Polish citizenship, local authorities attempted to curb the use of Yiddish and Hebrew at public meetings, and the Polish electoral system clearly discriminated against all the minorities.

All Jewish activities leading toward the advancement of Jewish national life in Poland were combated;

[[The basic fault that to be Jewish is not a nation but is a religion is never mentioned in Encyclopaedia Judaica]].

the government favored [[racist]] Zionism only insofar as it preached emigration to Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]], and in domestic politics tended to support the traditional Orthodoxy of Agudat Israel. Worst of all was the economic policy of the state.

[[Emigration numbers are missing in this article]].

[Numbers]

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col.
                744 [[Jew with chicken]]. Jewish type in Poland between
                World War In and World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 744 [[Jew with chicken]]. Jewish type in
Poland between World War In and World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York

According to official statistics, most likely too low, Jews made up 10.5% of the Polish population in 1921. The density of their urban settlement was related to the general development of the area. In less developed regions, such as East Galicia, Lithuania, and Volhynia, the Jewish percentage in the cities was very high, while in more developed [[industrialized and destroyed]] areas, such as Central Poland (the old Congress Poland), the existence of a strong native bourgeoisie caused the Jewish percentage to be lower.

As for the Jewish village population, it too was higher in backward areas, since the number of cities was naturally less. There were, therefore, substantial Jewish village populations in Galicia and Lithuania but not in the old Congress Poland (with the exception of Lublin province, economically backward in comparison with the other provinces of the region). The most striking development in the demography of Polish Jewry between the wars is the marked loss of ground in the cities [[probably because of emigration by Danzig]]. Table 6 illustrates this point. (col. 739)

Table 6. Decrease in the Percentage of the Jews in the Total Population in the Cities of Poland in the Interwar Period.
City
Percentage of Jews in 1921
in 1931
Warsaw
33.1
30.1
Lvov
35.0
31.9
Vilna
36.1
28.2
Bialystok
51.6
43.0
Grodno
53.9
42.6
Brest-Litovsk
53.1
44.3
Pinsk
74.7
63.4
from: Poland; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 13, col. 740


[Colonization with Poles and Jewish emigration wave]

Among the factors contributing to this decline was the Polish government's "colonization" policy in non-Polish areas, its changing of city lines to diminish the Jewish proportion, and Jewish emigration (though with America's gates shut [[since 1924]] this last factor was [[concerning the criminal "USA"]] not very significant).

[[The racist criminal "USA" restricted Jewish immigration in 1924. But it can be admitted that Jewish emigration was going on under other nationality quotas by changing nationality with forged documents which were easy to have by Jewish emigration organizations in Poland. Mostly the young generation emigrated]].

Another (col. 739)

major cause would appear to be the low Jewish natural increase, caused by a low birth rate. [[This lower birthrate was caused because of the high emigration of the young generation. This is an indirect proof that emigration was always going on and on also after 1924]].

Table 7 presents the natural increase of four major religious groups in interwar Poland:

Table 7. The Natural Increase of Four Major Religious Groups in Poland in the Interwar Period [1920-1939?]
Religion
Natural increase [[in percent]]
Roman Catholicxxxxxxxxx
13.1%xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Greek Catholic
12.5%xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Greek Orthodox
16.7%xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Jewish
9.5%xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
from: Poland; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 13, col. 740

Thus the process of Jewish population expansion in Poland ended, itself the victim of urbanization (which led, in turn, to a low birth rate).

[[This urbanization is only one factor. Emigration of the young generation is not mentioned, but is mentioned in many other articles of the Encyclopaedia Judaica]].

If the cities were Judaized during the 19th century, they were Polonized in the 1920s and 1930s.

[Professions - Polish system controlling all economy - systematic discrimination of the Jews since 1919]

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 745. [[Jewish artisan]]. Jewish types
                        in Poland between World War In and World War II.
                        Courtesy YIVO, New York
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 745. [[Jewish artisan]]. Jewish types in Poland between World War In and World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York
x
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 746. [[Jewish shoemaker]]. Jewish types
                        in Poland between World War In and World War II.
                        Courtesy YIVO, New York
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 746. [[Jewish shoemaker]]. Jewish types in Poland between World War In and World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York

The demographic decline of Polish Jewry was paralleled by a more serious economic decline. On the whole, Polish Jews between the wars continued to work at the same trades as their 19th-century predecessors and the tendency toward "productivization" also continued. The vast majority of those engaged in industry were artisans, among whom tailors predominated; those working in commerce were, above all, shopkeepers.

What distinguished the interwar years from the prewar era was the anti-Semitic policy of the Polish state, which Jewish leaders accused of leading to the economic "extermination" of Polish Jewry. Jews were not employed in the civil service, there were very few Jewish teachers in the public schools, practically no Jewish railroad workers, no Jews employed in state-controlled banks, and no Jewish workers in state-run monopolies (such as the tobacco industry). In a period characterized by economic étatism [[a sort of absolutism]], when the state took a commanding role in economic life, such official discrimination became disastrous. There was no branch of the economy where the state did not reach; it licensed artisans, controlled the banking system, and controlled foreign trade, all to the detriment of the Jewish element.

Its tax system discriminated against the urban population, and its support of peasant cooperatives struck at the Jewish middleman. Such specific legislation as the law compelling all citizens to rest on Sunday helped to ruin Jewish commerce by forcing the shopkeeper to rest for two days and to lose the traditionally lucrative Sunday trade.

More natural forces were also at work in the decline of the Jews' economic condition, e.g., the continued development of a native middle class, sponsored by the government but not created by it. According to research carried out by the *YIVO in 113 Polish cities between 1937 and 1938, the number of Jewish-owned stores declined by one, while the number of stores owned by Christians increased by 591. In the western Bialystok province, to cite another example, the number of the Jewish -owned stores declined between 1932 and 1937 from 663 to 563, while (col. 740)

the number of Christian-owned stores rose from 58 to 310. These figures reflect both the impact of anti-Semitism (in the late 1930s the anti-Jewish boycott became effective) and the impact of the developing Polish (and Ukrainian) middle class. [[see also: *Boycott, anti-Jewish]]

[[Whole eastern Europe with it's new borderlines and at the cut borderline to Communist Russia wanted to get rid of the Jews and were performing a heavy discrimination of the Jews. Details about the anti-Semitic Polish policy since 1919 can be seen in: Yehuda Bauer: Joint (policy since 1919) and a whole chapter about anti-Semitic Poland (1919-1938)]

The Jews' economic collapse in the interwar period bears witness to the disaster, from the Jewish point of view, inherent [[existing in the center]] in the rise of exclusive nation-states on the ruins of the old multinational empires. Jews were employed in the old Austrian public schools of Galicia, but not in the Polish state-operated schools. They worked as clerks in the railroad offices of Austrian Galicia, but not in Poland. Thousands of Jewish cigarette factory workers in the old Russian Empire were dismissed when the Polish state took over the tobacco monopoly. It also demonstrates the extremely vulnerable position of the Jews vis-à-vis the other Polish minorities, largely peasant nations which did not compete with the Polish element. The urban Jewish population found itself in a situation in which the traditional small businessman was being squeezed out [[by special taxes]], while the policy of the state also ruined the wealthy Jewish merchant and industrialist. This was then the end of a process already discernible [[developing]] in the late 19th century, immeasurably [[without any limits]] speeded up by a state which wanted to see all key economic positions in the hands of "loyal" elements, i.e., Poles.

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 745. [[Jewish transport]]. Jewish types
                        in Poland between World War In and World War II.
                        Courtesy YIVO, New York
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 745. [[Jewish transport]]. Jewish types in Poland between World War In and World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York
x
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 745. [[Seems to be a Jewish tailor]].
                        Jewish types in Poland between World War In and
                        World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 745. [[Seems to be a Jewish tailor]]. Jewish types in Poland between World War In and World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York


[[The Jewish aid organizations were organizing support by loan kassas, and by this help it was possible that Polish Jewry existed until 1939, see Yehuda Bauer: Joint]].

[Racist Zionism is dominating Jewish life in Poland with over 50%]

What was the Jews' political response to this situation? In the beginning of the interwar period the *General ZIonists emerged as the strongest force within the Jewish community, thus reflecting the general trend in eastern Europe toward nationalism and, in the Jewish context, reflecting the impact of the terrible war years. In the 1919 Sejm elections the list of the Temporary Jewish National Council, dominated by [[racist]] General Zionists, received more than 50% of those votes cast for Jewish parties. In 1922, when Jewish representation in the Sejm reached its peak, the percentage of [[racist]] General Zionists (together with the *Mizrachi) among the Jewish deputies was again over 50% (28 out of 46). The Jewish Club (Kolo) in the Sejm, which claimed to speak for all Polish Jewry, was naturally dominated by [[racist]] General Zionists, who with considerable justice regarded themselves as the legitimate spokesmen of the community.

[Fight of different racist Zionist "schools": Gruenbaum and Reich arguing about tactics against anti-Semites - split of racist Warsaw Zionists in "radical Zionists" and "General Zionists"]

[[Racist]] General Zionism in Poland was divided into two schools, that of "Warsaw-St. Petersburg" and that of "Lvov-Cracow-Vienna". The former came of age in the revolutionary atmosphere of the czarist regime and consequently tended to be more extreme in its demands than the Galicians, who had learned their politics in the Austrian Reichsrat. The clash between Yizhak (Yiẓḥak) *Gruenbaum, leader of the Warsaw faction, and Leon *Reich of Lvov was well expressed in the negotiations carried on between the Jewish Sejm Club and the Polish government in 1925. Gruenbaum, rejecting negotiations with anti-Semites and offering instead the idea of a national minorities bloc, found himself outnumbered in the club by adherents of Reich's position, namely that negotiations should be carried on in order to halt the deterioration of the Jewish position. In the end neither Gruenbaum's minorities bloc nor Reich's negotiations caused any improvements; the tragedy of Jewish politics in Poland was that the government would not make concessions to the Jews so long as it was not forced to do so, and the Jews, representing only 10% of the population, could find no allies.

All [[racist]] General Zionists agreed on the importance of "work in the Diaspora", though Gruenbaum, the central figure in this work, was castigated [[sharply criticized]] by Palestinian pioneers as the apostle of "Sejm-Zionismus". They did not agree, however, on various aspects of [[racist]] Zionist policy; the efforts to broaden the *Jewish Agency and the nature of the Fourth *Aliyah (col. 749)

caused a split within the [[racist]] Warsaw Zionists, Gruenbaum leading the attack on Chaim *Weizmann and upholding the young pioneering emigration while his opponents defended the "bourgeois" aliyah and Weizmann's conciliatory tactics toward non-Zionist Jewry. Gruenbaum's faction, Al ha-Mishmar ("On Guard"), remained in the minority throughout the 1920s, but the so-called [[racist]] "radical Zionists returned to power in the 1930s following the failure of the Agency reform, the crisis in the Fourth Aliyah, and the stiffening of the British line in Palestine. The [[racist]] General Zionists, of course, did not monopolize Jewish political life in interwar Poland. On the right, non-Zionist Orthodoxy was represented by the Agudat Israel, which succeeded in dominating the Jewish kehillot [[congregation]], but its generally good relations with the government did not stem the anti-Semitic tide.

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col.
                747-748. Training farm of He-Halutz, Grodno, c. 1930.
                Courtesy Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 747-748. Training farm of He-Halutz,
Grodno, c. 1930. Courtesy Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem

[Anti-Zionist Socialist party Bund - Yiddish culture]

On the left the dominant Jewish party was the Bund, which had disappeared in Russia but survived to play its last historic role as the most important representative of the Jewish proletariat in Poland. The Bund, like Gruenbaum's [[racist]] Zionist faction, also recognized the need for allies in the struggle for a just society in which, its leaders hoped, Jews would be able to promote their Yiddish-based culture. Such allies were sought on the Polish left rather than among the disaffected minorities, but the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), for reasons of its own, had no desire to be branded [[exposed]] pro-Jewish. Unable to cerate a bloc with the Polish proletariat, the Bund devoted itself to promoting the interests of the Jewish working class and took a great interest in the development of Yiddish culture. Despite the fact that this party, too, was split into factions (the split turned chiefly on different attitudes toward the international Socialist movement), it was to grow in influence.

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col.
                741-742. Open-air gathering of the Bundist Youth
                Organization, Warsaw, June 1932. Courtesy Bund Archives
                of the Jewish Labour Movement, New York.
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 741-742. Open-air gathering of the Bundist Youth Organization,
Warsaw, June 1932. Courtesy Bund Archives of the Jewish Labor Movement, New York.


[Racist Socialist Zionist parties]

Sharing the left with the Bund, though overshadowed by it in terms of worker allegiance, were the various [[racist]] Socialist Zionist parties, ranging from the non-Marxist *Hitahadut (Hitaḥadut) to the leftist *Po'alei Zion (the Po'alei Zion movement had split into right and left factions in 1920; in Poland the left was dominant, at least in the 1920s). The moderate [[racist]] Socialist Zionists were concerned mainly with the pioneering emigration to Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel), while the Left Po'alei Zion steered a perilous course of non-affiliation either with the Zionist organization or with the Socialist International. Its ideological difficulties with the competition of the anti-Zionist Bund (which went so far as to brand Zionism as an ally of Polish anti-Semitism [[which in reality probably was because anti-Semitism forced for emigration]]) sentenced the Left P'alei Zion to a relatively minor role among the Jewish proletariat, though its influence among the intelligentsia was by no means negligible.

[Racist Orthodox Zionists: Mizrachi -  cultural *Folkspartei]

Two other Jewish parties deserve mention. The Polish Mizrachi, representing the [[racist]] Zionist Orthodox population, enjoyed a very large following (eight of its representatives sat in the Sejm in 1922). The Mizrachi usually cooperated with the [[racist]] General Zionists, though its particular mission was to safeguard the religious interests of its followers in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) [[Land of Israel]] and in the Diaspora.

The *Folkspartei, on the other hand, never managed to make an impression on political life in Poland, though its intellectual leadership was extremely influential on the cultural scene. Both anti-Zionist and anti-Socialist, it could never attain a mass following.

[Radicalization of racist Zionism: large emigration wave in the mid-1930s - and Bund coming up]

The economic collapse of Polish Jewry, together with the rise of virulent anti-Semitism, led to the radicalization of Jewish politics in Poland. Extreme solutions to the Jewish question gained more adherents as the parliamentary approach clearly failed to lead anywhere; hence the growth of the pioneering [[racist]] Zionist movements - *He-Haluz (He-Ḥaluẓ), He-Haluz ha-Za'ir (He-Ḥaluẓ ha-Ẓa'ir), *Ha-Shomer ha-Za'ir (Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir), and others - resulting in the large-scale emigration to Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) in the mid-1930s, and also the inroads of Communism among the Jewish youth.

Another symptom of this radicalization (col. 750)

was the great success of the Bund in the 1930s; by the late 1930s the Bund had "conquered" a number of major kehillot [[congregations]] and was probably justified in considering itself the strongest of all Jewish parties. This spectacular success did not occur as a result of any apparent party success, since the efforts to improve the lot of the Jewish proletariat and to forge a bloc with the Polish left had failed. Rather, the Bund's success may be attributed to the rising protest vote against attempts to mollify the regime and in favor of an honorable defense, no matter how unavailing, of Jewish interests.

[Changes within the racist Zionist parties in Poland in the 1930s: Socialists and Communists coming up]

Within the [[racist]] Zionist movement the process of radicalization was very clearly illustrated by the decline of the [[racist]] General Zionists and the rise of the Socialists and the Revisionists. In the elections to the 18th [[racist]] *Zionist Congress, held in 1933, the [[racist]] labor Zionists of Central Poland received 38 mandates and the [[racist]] General Zionists only 12. The same congress seated 20 Polish Revisionists, whose growing strength faithfully reflected the mood of Polish Jewry. In short, a transformation may be discerned of what might be called the politics of hope into the politics of despair. The slogans of haluziyyut (ḥaluẓiyyut) ("pioneering"), evacuation, and Communist ideology became more and more palatable as the old hopes for Jewish autonomy and the peaceful advancement of Jewish life in a democratic Poland disappeared.

[Pogroms and boycotts since 1933]

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col.
                743. [[Two Jews speaking in the street]]. Jewish types
                in Poland between World War I and World War II. Courtesy
                YIVO, New York
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 743. [[Two Jews speaking in the street]].
Jewish types in Poland between World War I and World War II. Courtesy YIVO, New York

[[Pogroms and boycotts were traditional in Poland since 1919 already. The Situation since 1933 did not change much]].

By the late 1930s the handwriting was clearly on the wall for Polish Jewry, though no one could foresee the horrors to come. The rise of Hitler in Germany was paralleled by the appearance of Fascist and semi-Fascist regimes in eastern Europe, not excepting Poland. A new wave of pogroms erupted along with a renewed anti-Jewish boycott, condoned [[accepted]] by the authorities. The Jewish parties were helpless in the face of this onslaught [[storm]], especially as the disturbances in Erez Israel (Ereẓ Israel) resulted in a drastic decline in aliyah.

[[Emigration with changing names, changing nationality with forged documents is not mentioned in this article but forged documents could easy be provided by Jewish emigration organizations. It can be admitted that emigration movement continued under other nation quotas to overseas and to the racist criminal "USA"]].

[Summary 1772-1939]

Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col.
                747-748. Summer camp, 1925 [[probably organized by the
                Joint]]. Courtesy Joint Distribution Committee, New
                York.
amplifyEncyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 747-748. Summer camp, 1925 [[probably organized by the Joint,
see: Yehuda Bauer: Joint]]. Courtesy Joint Distribution Committee, New York.

The political dilemma of Polish Jewry remained unresolved; finding no allies, Jewish parties could do little to influence the course of events. It should be recalled, however, that the role of these parties was greater than the narrow word "political" implies. Their work in raising the educational standards of Polish Jewry was remarkable, and the Jewish youth movements were able to supply to the new generation of Polish Jews a sense of purpose and a certain vision of a brighter future.

Polish Jewish history from 1772 to 1939, reveals an obvious continuity. The Jews remained a basically urban element in a largely peasant country, a distinct economic group, a minority whose faith, language, and customs differed sharply from those of the majority. All attempts to break down this distinctiveness failed, and the Jews naturally suffered for their obvious strangeness. A thin layer of assimilated, or quasi-assimilated, Jews subsisted throughout the entire period, but the masses were relatively unaffected by the Polish orientation.

In the end all suffered equally from Polish anti-Semitism. There were also several basic discontinuities. The rise of an exclusively national Polish state in 1918 was a turning point in the deterioration of the Jews' position, though the signs of this deterioration were already visible in the late 19th century. The rise of a native middle class, encouraged by state policy, put an end to the Jews' domination of trade and forced them into crafts and industry, resulting in the emergence of a large Jewish proletariat.

Politically speaking perhaps the greatest change was the triumph within the community of Jewish nationalism, whether [[racist]] Zionist, [[Socialist anti-Zionist party]] Bundist, or [[Capitalist anti-Zionist]] Folkist, at the expense of the traditional assimilationist or Orthodox leadership. In this sense Polish Jewry followed the same course of development as the other peoples of eastern Europe. It was a tragic paradox that these nationalist parties, which extolled the principle of activism and denounced the (col. 751)

passivity of the Jewish past, also depended for their effectiveness on outside forces. Neither the Polish government nor the Polish left proved to be possible allies in the struggle for survival.

[E.ME.]> (col. 752)

[[It seems to be strange that the work and the stock exchange crash of 1929 is never mentioned in the article, see e.g.: Joint, and the help and the donations of the Jewish aid organizations not either, see: Joint. Add to this the decisive role of the anti-Semitic "Christian" Church is not mentioned either, see: Joint. And there is never indicated how many Jews could emigrate, and also general Jewish population figures for 1919-1939 - which would be very important for the number of Jews of 1939 - are only indicated for 1931, and about the emigration of 1931-1939 are no figures indicated]].






Sources
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                        13, col. 737-738
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 737-738
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 739-740
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 739-740
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 741-742
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 741-742
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 743-744
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 743-744
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 745-746
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 745-746
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 747-748
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 747-748
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 749-750
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 749-750
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol.
                        13, col. 751-752
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Poland, vol. 13, col. 751-752


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