It seems a far cry from the Jewish Question in the United States to the same question in Poland, but inasmuch as the Jews of the United States are constantly referring to Poland for propaganda purposes, inasmuch as there are 250,000 Polish Jews arriving in the United States on a schedule made by their brethren here, and inasmuch as the people of Poland have had their own illuminating experience with the World Program, it would seem that Poland has something to teach the United States in this respect.
Especially is this true since it is impossible to pick up an American newspaper without finding traces of Jewish anti-Polish propaganda—a propaganda which is designed to take our eyes away from the thing that is transpiring at the Port of New York. If a reader of these articles should say, “Let us not think about Poland, let us think about the United States,” the answer is that he is already thinking about Poland the way the Jews of the United States want him to think, and the fact that he is thinking according to Jewish wishes in this respect incapacitates him up to a certain point to understand the entire Jewish Question in this country.
Three chapters back in this series we presented part of a hearing before the United States Senate committee on the census question as it affected the Jew. The immigration question appeared as part of that inquiry. Then followed an article which showed that Jewish authorities adopt principles exactly opposite to those which had been defended before the United States Senators. A third article followed showing how Jewish leaders resent the influence of the modern State upon Judaism. All these subjects are essential to a well-rounded understanding of the Jewish Question as a whole in its relation to the United States.
Today we go back to the home of that quarter of a million people who are rapidly being landed on our shores to see what they did there, and to find the basis for Jewish propaganda statements that these people are fleeing from “persecution.”
We have five official witnesses whose observations have been printed under the seals of the United States and the British governments. The American document is a “Message from the President of the United States, transmitting pursuant to a State Resolution of October 28, 1919, a communication from the Secretary of State submitting a report by the Honorable Henry Morgenthau on the work of The Mission of the United States to Poland.” It is Senate Document No. 177.
This document includes also a supplementary report signed by Brigadier-General Edgar Jadwin, United States Army.
There is a certain mystery about this document. Though an edition was printed for public circulation, it soon became extremely rare. It seemed to disappear almost overnight. The copy from which this present examination is made was secured with the utmost difficulty. The head of that American Mission, which remained in Poland from July 13 to September 13, 1919, was Henry Morgenthau, an American Jew, who had been United States Minister to Turkey, a man of excellent public and private reputation.
It is commonly said that the Jews did not like his report, hence its scarcity. This much appears: The Jewish press has never made much of it; it is not cited in Jewish propaganda; it has not had the endorsement of American Jewry. The reason appears to be this—that it told the calm truth about the situation of the Jews in Poland and made very fair observations.
But it is indirectly that American Jews show the opinion which they hold of the Morgenthau report, and it comes about in this way: When the American Mission left Poland, the British Mission arrived, and remained until December. The chief member of the British Mission was an English Jew, Sir Stuart Samuel, whose brother Herbert is now High Commissioner of Palestine. He was accompanied by a British military officer, Captain P. Wright, who also submitted a supplementary report. The two reports were submitted with an introductory report by Sir H. Rumbold, British representative at Warsaw.
Now, of all five reports, the Morganthau, Samuel, Jadwin, Wright and Rumbold reports, the Jews of the United States have circulated only one—the Samuel report. It has been printed in full in newspapers at advertising rates; it has been circulated broadcast as an American Jewish Congress Bulletin. Any number of Samuel reports may be obtained, but none of the report which a member of the American diplomatic service made and which the President of the United States transmitted as a Message to the Senate.
Why? Because four reports examined the situation all around and reported it without bias, and if they were printed in the United States and spread broadcast before the people, it would throw an entirely different light on the Jewish propaganda in favor of Polish immigration in enormous numbers.
Even when the Jews of the United States published the Samuel report, they did not publish the Captain Wright report which accompanied it. In the American Jewish Congress Bulletin, the Wright report was condensed, mutilated, and shorn of its real meaning; while in the Maccabaean, the reports of Rumbold and Wright are treated without courtesy and the Samuel report published in full.
That the reader may form his own conclusions, the testimony of the five official witnesses (or six, if we count Homer H. Johnson, who signed the American report with General Jadwin) will be given on the principal points; the agreements and disagreements will therefore be noticeable.
Sir Stuart Samuel says: “Poles generally are of a generous nature, and if the present incitements of the press were repressed by a strong official hand, Jews would be able to live, as they have done for the past 800 years, on good terms with their fellow citizens in Poland.”
Note how easily Sir Stuart talks about repression of the press. The Polish press has at last obtained freedom of writing. It is exercising a privilege which the Jewish press of Poland always had. But now that it speaks freely of Jews, repress it with a strong hand, says Sir Stuart. He would not dare suggest that in England where the press also is finding its freedom. As to the Yiddish press in Poland, the reader will find some information in Israel Friedlaender’s essay, “The Problem of Polish Jewry.” Friedlaender was a Jew and his book was published by a Jewish house in Cincinnati. He says:
“The Yiddish press sprang up and became a powerful civilizing agency among the Jews of Poland. The extent of its influence may be gathered from the fact, which curiously enough is pointed out reproachfully by the Poles, that the leading Yiddish newspaper of Warsaw commanded but a few years ago a larger circulation than that of all the Polish newspapers combined.”
Henry Morgenthau says (par. 7)—“The soldiers had been inflamed by the charge that the Jews were Bolsheviks, while at Lemberg it was associated with the idea that the Jews were making common cause with the Ukrainians. These excesses were, therefore, political as well as anti-Semitic in character.“
And again (par. 8)—“Just as the Jews would resent being condemned as a race for the action of a few of their co-religionists, so it would be correspondingly unfair to condemn the Polish nation as a whole for the violence committed by uncontrolled troops or local mobs. These excesses were apparently not premeditated, for if they had been part of a preconceived plan, the number of victims would have run into the thousands instead of amounting to about 280. It is believed that these excesses were the result of widespread anti-Semitic prejudice aggravated by the belief that the Jewish inhabitants were politically hostile to the Polish State.”
Sir H. Rumbold says: “It is giving the Jews very little real assistance to single out, as is sometimes done, for reprobation and protest the country where they have perhaps suffered least.”
Captain P. Wright says: “It is an explanation often given of what may be called, according to the point of view, the idiosyncrasies or defects of the Jews, that they have been an oppressed and persecuted people. This is an idea so charitable and humane that I should like to think it, not only of the Jews, but of every other people. It has every merit as a theory, except that of being true. When one thinks of what happened to the other ‘racial, religious and linguistic minorities’ of Europe in modern times * * * the Jews appear not as the most persecuted but as the most favored people of Europe.”
Brigadier General Jadwin states clearly that the “persecution” cry may be regarded as propaganda. He says:
“The disorders of November 21 to 23 in Lemberg became, like the excesses in Lithuania, a weapon of foreign anti-Polish propaganda. The press bureau of the Central Powers, in whose interest it lay to discredit the Polish Republic before the world, permitted the publication of articles * * * in which an eye-witness estimated the number of victims between 2,500 and 3,000, although the extreme number furnished by the local Jewish committee was 76.” (p. 15.)
And again: “In common with all free governments of the world, Poland is faced with the danger of the political and international propaganda to which the war has given rise. The coloring, the invention, the suppression of news, the subornation of newspapers by many different methods, and the poisoning by secret influences of the instruments affecting public opinion, in short, all the methods of malevolent propaganda are a menace from which Poland is a notable sufferer.” (p. 17.)
Of course, all this propaganda has been Jewish. The methods described are typically Jewish.
Speaking about the number killed, Mr. Morgenthau estimates the total at 258; while Sir H. Rumbold says only 18 were killed “in Poland proper,” the others having been killed in the disorders of the war zone. Sir Stuart Samuel estimates the total killed at 348.
Sir Stuart Samuel—“The Jews in Poland and Galicia number about 3,000,000 * * * Public opinion had been aroused against them by the institution of a virulent boycott. This boycott dates from shortly after the by-election for the Duma, which took place in Warsaw in 1912 * * * Business relations between Poland and Russia were very considerable in the past, and were generally in the hands of the Jews, not only in the handling of the goods exported, but also in their manufacture * * * Initiative in business matters is almost entirely the prerogative of the Jewish population * * * Nearly the whole of the estate agents who act for the Polish nobility are of the Jewish race * * * Attention must be paid to the fact that Jews form the middle class almost in its entirety. Above are the aristocracy and below are the peasants. Their relations with the peasants are not unsatisfactory. The young peasants cannot read the newspapers and are therefore but slightly contaminated by anti-Semitism until they enter the army. I was informed that it is not at all unusual for Polish peasants to avail themselves of the arbitrament of the Jewish rabbi’s courts.”
That shows the Jews to have occupied a very favorable position in Poland and is to be remembered in connection with the previous quotation from Sir Stuart in which he says that if the incitements of the press were repressed by a strong official hand, “the Jews would be able to live, as they have done for the past 800 years, on good terms with their fellow citizens in Poland.”
Let us take the points made by Sir Stuart, and observe what the other witnesses say about them:
(a) Beginning with the point as to the Jews’ monopoly of business in Poland:
Sir H. Rumbold—“Sir Stuart Samuel would appear to be mistaken in his appreciation of the part played by the Jews in the pre-war business relations between Poland and Russia and in the industry of the former country. Whereas it is true that goods exported from Poland were to a large extent handled by the Jews, only a small percentage of those goods were actually manufactured by them.”
Captain P. Wright—“In Poland until the last generation all business men were Jews: The Poles were peasants or landowners, and left commerce to the Jews; even now certainly much more than half, and perhaps as much as three-quarters, of business men are Jews.”
“For both town and country I think it a true generalization to say that the East Jews are hardly ever producers, but nearly always middlemen.”
“Economically, the Jews appear at the very outset as dealers, not as producers, nor even as artisans, and chiefly dealers in money; in course of time the whole business and commerce of Poland became theirs, and they did nothing else.”
(b) With regard to the “estate agents” mentioned by Sir Stuart Samuel:
Captain P. Wright—“Poland is an agricultural country, but the East Jews, unlike the West Jews, play a large part in its country life. Every estate and every village has its Jew, who holds a sort of hereditary position in them; he markets the produce of the peasants and makes their purchases for them in town; every Polish landowner or noble had his own Jew, who did all his business for him, managed the commercial part of his estate, and found him money * * * Besides this, nearly all the population of nearly all the small country towns is Jewish, corn and leather dealers, storekeepers and peddlers, and such like.”
(c) Regarding Sir Stuart’s assertion that “Jews form the middle class almost to its entirety,” with the nobles above them and the peasants beneath them (a typical Jewish position—dividing Gentile society and standing between the parts), this illustration may help to make it clear:
Captain P. Wright—“It is instructive to try and imagine what England would be like under the same conditions. Arriving in London, a stranger would find every second or third person a Jew, almost all the poorer quarters and slums Jewish, and thousands of synagogues. Arriving at Newbury he would find practically the whole town Jewish, and nearly every printed inscription in Hebrew characters. Penetrating into Berkshire, he would find the only storekeeper in most small villages a Jew, and small market towns mostly composed of Jewish hovels. Going on to Birmingham he would find all the factories owned by Jews, and two shops out of three with Jewish names.”
Captain Wright is trying to give the people at home a picture of conditions in order that they may understand how Poland feels. The Jewish press strongly resented this. Sir Stuart Samuel’s report is notable for the number of things he mentioned, and the few he explained.
Sir Stuart Samuel—“The fact of their language being akin to German often led to their being employed during the German occupation in preference to other Poles. This circumstance caused the Jews to be accused of having had business relations with the Germans * * * The Government publicly declared its disapproval of boycotting, but a certain discrimination seems to have been made in the re-employment of those who served under the German occupation. I find that many Jews who thus served have been relieved of their offices and not reinstated, whereas I can find no evidence of similar procedure in regard to other Poles.”
Sir H. Rumbold—“The fact of Yiddish being akin to German may have been the reason why the Germans employed a large number of Jews during their occupation of Poland, although a great many of the Poles with a good knowledge of German could have been found. There is this difference, however, that the Poles only served the Germans by compulsion, as they considered them to be their enemies.”
Brigadier General Jadwin—“During the German occupation of Poland, the Germanic character of the Yiddish vernacular and the readiness of certain Jewish elements to enter into relations with the winning side, induced the enemy to employ Jews as agents for various purposes and to grant the Jewish population not only exceptional protection, but also the promise of autonomy. It is alleged that the Jews were active in speculation in foodstuffs, which was encouraged by the armies of occupation with a view to facilitating export to Germany and Austria.” That is, the Jews were the means by which Poland was to be drained of its food supply.
Captain P. Wright—“But the high day and triumph of the Jews was during the German occupation. The Jews in Poland are deeply Germanized, and German carries you over Poland because Jews are everywhere. So the Germans found everywhere people who knew their language and could work for them. It was with Jews that the Germans set up their organization to squeeze and drain Poland—Poles and Jews included—of everything it had; it was in concert with Jews that German officials and officers toward the end carried on business all over the country. In every department and region they were the instruments of the Germans, and poor Jews grew rich and lordly as the servants of the masters. But though Germanized, the accusation of the Poles that the Jews are devoted to Germany is unfounded * * * They have no more loyalty to Germany—the home of anti-Semitism—than to Poland. The East Jews are Jews and only Jews.
“It has seemed certain that one of two, the German or the Russian Empire, must win, and that the Jews, who had their money on both, were safe; but the despised Poland came in first. Even now the Jews can hardly believe in its resurrection, and one of them told me it still seemed to him a dream.”
Mr. Morgenthau does not touch this matter in his report.
Sir Stuart Samuel—“This boycott dates from shortly after the by-election for the Duma, which took place in Warsaw in 1912 * * * During the war, owing to the scarcity of almost everything, the boycott diminished, but with the armistice it revived with much of its original intensity * * * A severe private, social and commercial boycott of Jews, however, exists among the people generally, largely fostered by the Polish press. In Lemburg I found there was a so-called social court presided over by M. Przyluski, a former Austrian vice-president of the Court of Appeals, which goes so far as to summon persons having trade relations with Jews to give an explanation of their conduct. Below will be found a typical cutting from a Polish newspaper giving the name of a Polish countess who sold property to Jews. This was surrounded by a mourning border such as is usual in Poland in making announcements of death.
“Countess Anna Jablonowska, resident in Galicia, has sold her two houses, Stryjska street, Nos. 18 and 20, to the Jews, Dogilewski, Hubner and Erbsen. The attorney of the countess was Dr. Dziedzic; her administrator, M. Naszkowski. Will the Polish public forever remain indifferent and passive in such cases?”
This illustration of Sir Stuart brings to mind a practice common in England. It is related on page 123 of “The Conquering Jew” by John Foster Fraser, published by Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1916: “The housing question in the Whitechapel district has reached such a pitch that there are large blocks of buildings where ‘No English Need Apply’ is a common legend. Whole streets are being bought up by Hebrew syndicates, whose first act is to serve notice on all Gentile tenants.”
It is also worth stating in this connection, that some of the feeling which has recently led to race riots in American cities has been engendered by the practice of small Jewish real estate syndicates purchasing a house in the middle of a desirable block, ousting the tenants and installing a Negro family, thereby using race prejudice to depreciate the property in the entire block and render it purchasable by the Jews at a low price. Thereafter, the property is lost to Gentile ownership or use.
It may be that in Poland a similar condition exists which makes the sale of property into Jewish hands a kind of disloyalty to the people generally. Apparently the Poles think so. “Racial prejudice” is not a sufficient explanation of such beliefs: there is always something pretty tangible beneath them.
The “boycott” was merely this:—an agreement among Poles to trade with Poles. The Jews were numerous, well-to-do, and in control of all the channels of business. They own practically all the real estate in Warsaw. The Jews claimed that the so-called boycott (the Polish name for it is “the co-operatives”) was “persecution.”
Sir H. Rumbold—“It must be further remembered that under the influence of economic changes and owing to the fact that since 1832 the Poles have not been allowed to hold posts in the government, they were gradually obliged to take to trade, and competition between the Jewish population and the Poles commenced. This competition became stronger when the Russian Government allowed co-operative and agricultural societies to be started in Poland. The cooperative movement is becoming very strong and will undoubtedly form an important factor in the development of economic relations in Poland, so that indirectly it will be bound to affect the position of the small Jewish trader.
“In so far as the Polish Government are able to do so by legislation or proclamations, the boycotting of the Jews should be prohibited. But I would point out that it is beyond the power of any government to force its subjects to deal with persons with whom they do not wish to deal.”
Henry Morgenthau, however, takes a more reasonable view than his British co-religionist, Sir Stuart Samuel. Mr. Morgenthau says:
“Furthermore, the establishment of co-operative stores is claimed by many Jewish traders to be a form of discrimination. It would seem, however, that this movement is a legitimate effort to restrict the activities and therefore the profits of the middleman. Unfortunately, when these stores were introduced into Poland, they were advertised as a means of eliminating the Jewish trader. The Jews have, therefore, been caused to feel that the establishment of co-operatives is an attack upon themselves. While the establishment and the maintenance of co-operatives may have been influenced by anti-Semitic sentiment, this is a form of economic activity which any community is perfectly entitled to pursue.”
It is not difficult, therefore, to see through the eyes and minds of these five men the situation that prevailed in Poland. Eight hundred years ago, Poland opened her gates to the persecuted Jews in all Europe. They flocked there and enjoyed complete freedom; they were even allowed to form a “state within a state,” governing themselves in all Jewish matters and doing business with the Polish Government only through their own chosen spokesmen and representatives. The Polish people were their friends, evincing neither religious nor racial antipathy to them. Then Europe fell upon Poland, divided her asunder, until in the roster of the nations there was no more Poland, except in the hearts of the Polish people. During this period of Poland’s humiliation, the Jews grew to be a mighty power, ruling the Poles, regulating their very lives. The Great War came with its promise of liberation and the restoration of a Polish free government. The Jews were not favorable to that restoration. They were not Poland’s friends. The Poles resented this and at the signing of the armistice when they were free to express their resentment, they did so. Many regrettable things occurred, but they were not unintelligible. They had explanatory backgrounds. Even the armistice was not the end. The Bolsheviks from Russia came down upon Poland, and once more, so the Poles strongly declare, the Jews were against the land that had sheltered them for 800 years.
These are a few of the facts. Another article will be required to complete the story. In the meantime enough has been said to show the utter wrong which Jewish propaganda in the United States has done to Poland. But the purpose was not altogether to injure Poland; it was also to blind the American people, and cause them to view with equanimity the great influx of those same Jews into this country.