Armenians and Muslims: No Jewish Excuse for Not Uniting With Poland. Schmitt
Poland, by Bernadotte E. Schmitt. (ed.) 1947. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles
Minorities in Poland: Armenians and Muslims Join Poland: Jews Don’t. Kosciuszko Effectively Abolished Polish Serfdom
This anthology discusses many topics. I focus on a few of them.
A TALE OF THREE MINORITY GROUPS IN POLAND
Jews commonly give as an excuse, for refusing to integrate into Polish society, the claim that Poland was “hyper-Catholic” and not a pluralistic society. However, this exculpation is hollow, as other minority groups saw no barriers to becoming integrated into Polish society, and doing so long ago.
Consider Poland’s centuries-old indigenous Muslims. Oscar Halecki comments, “Finally, there were in Poland…a remnant of Tartar settlements in medieval Lithuania, about six thousand Mohammedans. These Mohammedans, who were attached to their faith, had been culturally Polonized for centuries; they had as their head a Chief Mufti at Wilno.” (p. 256).
For more on Poland’s Muslims, see:
The lack of Polish acceptance of Jews is also sometimes blamed on Polish “jealousy” of Jewish economic successes. Against such nonsense, consider the Armenians, another very successful group. Oscar Halecki writes, “The Armenian Catholics whose archbishop during almost the whole period of Poland’s independence was the outstanding writer and preacher, Monsignor Jozef Teodorowicz, are a very small group, chiefly landowners and merchants, descending from immigrants who had been settled in Poland since the Middle Ages, and had been Polonized long ago.” (p. 253).
For more on Poland’s Armenians, see:
ZYDOKOMUNA WAS BROAD-BASED, AND NOT ONLY DOCTRINAIRE OR CARD-CARRYING COMMUNISM
Malbone W. Graham writes, “The principle trait held in common by most of the Jewish party groups was an almost Messianic belief in the future of socialism, along with an unwillingness to follow internationally the course laid down by either the Second, the Second-and-a-half, or the Third International!” (p. 121).
JEWISH VOCATIONAL STRUCTURE: HARM TO POLAND
In describing the results of the 1931 census, Joseph R. Roucek comments, “Bur the percentage of Jews engaged in trade and finance was twenty-three times as great as among non-Jews. In addition, the employment of nearly one-third of Polish Jewry in industry and handcrafts indicated an unhealthy economic tendency because the vast majority of Jews listed in this category were artisans…Furthermore, the Jewish workingmen of Poland were concentrated in an antiquated branch of production, a domestic system which was disintegrating in the face of a new industrialization being actively promoted by the strongest elements of the Polish middle class and by the Government.” (pp. 159-160).
THE NUMERUS CLAUSUS, AT POLISH UNIVERSITIES, ACTS TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD
Roucek continues, “The progressive limitation of the number of Jewish students in the higher institutions was designed to prevent the preponderance of Jews in some of the professions like medicine and law.” (p. 162).
POLAND”S GERMAN MINORITY–CONTRARY TO NAZI PROPAGANDA–DID NOT HAVE IT BAD
Joseph Roucek remarks, “In many respects the Polish Germans were better off than any other minority group in Poland.” (p. 162).
KOSCIUSZKO AND THE END OF POLISH SERFDOM
Jerzy Radwan writes, “In the second half of the eighteenth century, social and political trends toward granting the serfs personal liberty and equality of rights quickly penetrated Poland. Such trends round their partial expression in the Constitution of May Third (1791) as well as in Kosciuszko’s proclamation of May 7, 1794. Kosciuszko not only granted the peasants personal liberty, but he also eased their socage duties and announced the granting to them of the propriety of the land by legislative action. But political events delayed the realization of those promises for a long time.” (p. 219). The enfranchisement of the peasants was conducted by the Partitioning Powers decades later, and was done consistently with their interests.
Published with the author’s permission.
Source: Jews & Poles DATEBASE.
The title image source: dzismis.com , January 25, 2015. / selected by wg.pco