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March 29, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-03-29

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THE JEWISH NEWS

Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951

Member American Association of English—Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press Association, National Editorial
Association.
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven Mile Road, Detroit, Mich. 48235,
VE 8-9364. Subscription $7 a year. Foreign $8.
Second Class Postage Paid at Detroit, Michigan

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor and Publisher

CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ

SIDNEY SHMARAK

Business Manager

Advertising Manager

CHARLOTTE DUBIN

City Editor

Sabbath Rosh Hodesh Nisan Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the first day of Nisan, 5728, the following scriptural selections
will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portions, Leviticus 1:1-5:26, Numbers 28:9 15, Exodus 12:1-20.
Prophetical portion, Ezekiel 45:16-46:18.

-

Candle Lighting, Friday, March 29, 6:35 p.m.

VOL. LIII. No. 2

Page Four

March 29, 1968

Polish Jewry: a 1,000-Year-Old Tragedy

Jewry's tragedy also is Poland's mis-
fortune — except that the Poles could have
erased their sins of a thousand years and
would haVe glorified the country's existence
by adhering to decency. Instead, Poland is
perpetuating bigotry, and the humiliations
the Poles are imposing upon Jews are back-
firing to that country's disgrace, perpet-
uating a record of intolerance and persecu-
tion.
There were accountable vacuums in the
story of Poland's medievalism. Many legends
speak of Polish-Jewish friendships, of a
measure of fraternization, and there is even
one story about a Jewess who became the
wife of a Polish king. But the complete story
of Poland is marked by indignities imposed
upon Jews, and the soil of many Jewish com-
munities in Poland has been soaked in blood.
Most depressing is the status of Polish
Jewry itself. In the midst of a new wave of
anti-Semitism, contrary to previous experi-
ences when spokesmen for what had been a
community of 3,500,000 Jews in Poland un-
hesitatingly challenged every manifestation
of anti-Semitism, the present Jewish com-
munity of Poland is represented by people
who concede to pressures from bigots. Not
unexpectedly, because of the previous tactics
pursued by the only Jewish newspaper in
Poland which adhered to a policy of sep-
aratism from the rest of world Jewry,
Folkshtimme published t h e fantastically-
woven charges against Zionism.
But world Jewry is united in an expres-
sion of a sense of outrage over what is hap-
pening in Poland, and historians look back
with dismay and with a sense of deep sorrow
at the Polish record either of indifference
to Jewish sufferings or of near-total approval
of disgraceful adherence to oppressions that
cause the Polish record to become corn-
parable to that of the Russian pogromists and
the German Nazis.
Even at the height of the struggle against
Nazism, when Jews enrolled in the Polish
Government-in-Exile forces, a number of the
Jewish partisans were imprisoned. There
were 30 Jews who left the Polish forces in
protest against anti-Semitic manifestations
against them and it became necessary, in
1944, for parliamentary spokesmen in Lon-
don to appeal to the then Foreign Secretary
Anthony Eden to intercede with the Polish
government for commutation of their sen-
tences. World public opinion was aroused
at that time, against an outrage within the
ranks of the Allied forces. While fighting
the anti-Jewish prejudices of the Nazis, it
became necessary to mobilize against anti-
Semitism among Poles.
There were the pogroms in Kielce and
the outrages in Poland shortly after World
War II. The record is filled with incidents
of Polish anti-Semitic tactics. Seven years
after the war, in 1950, the Christian Science
Monitor reported on a purge of Jews from
official posts immediately after the election
of Marshal Konstantin Rokossovely to the
Polish Politburo, and in the interim num-
erous occurrences indicated that the anti-
Jewish drive in Poland had not abated.
While the war against Nazism was in
progress, the Jewish leader, Dr. Ignacy
Schwarzbart, made a proposal for a four-
point program on Polish-Jewish relations. It
was flatly rejected by Stanislaw Mikolajczyk,
the Polish vice premier and minister of inte-
rior. It was in June of 1942, when there
should have been a measure of compassion.
But that word was unknown to Poles in their
official relationship with Jews. Rather, it
was a perpetuation of animosity, as was
evidenced in Kielce, Lemberg, Brest-Litovsk
before the war. It was, indeed — as the
situation indicates to this very day — a

perpetuation of conditions which necessitated
the writing of the following letter (May 28,
1937), over the signatures of Neville Laski,
K.C., then president of the British Board of
Jewish Deputies, and Joseph Meller, O.B.E.,
then chairman of the Deputies' foreign ap-
peals committee, who wrote to the London
Jewish Chronicle:

The news from Poland is of so serious and
distressing a character, not merely in regard to
the events that have taken place in Brest-
Litovsk, but in relation to the Polish Jewish
community generally, that it is essential that
ameliorative measures should be taken imme-
diately in this country. The only thing that we
can do is to call upon the community to donate
such sums as will be a significant contribution
to the valuable work which has already been
actively put into operation by the Joint Distri-
bution Committee and other agencies in Poland,
and will be a continuation of the contribution
which this community has already made.

Essay by Late Rabbi Adler
in 'Roads to Jewish Survival'

Bloch Publishing Co., jointly with the National Federation of
Jewish Men's Clubs, has just issued a volume entitled "Roads to
Jewish Survival"—a collection of essays, biographies and articles
chosen from the Conservative Judaism magazine, The Torch, on the
occasion of the periodical's 25th anni-
versary.
Edited by Rabbis Milton Berger, Joel
S. Geffen and M. Daniel Hoffman, this
volume is filled with material relating to
; major subjects of general Jewish interest,
covering vital issues, analyzing religious
problems and the challenges that have
faced Jewry in the past decades.
The works of many noted scholars have
been incorporated in this volume, and an
Dr. Adler
essay of special interest to the members of
the Conservative Judaism ranks, by Rabbi Morris Adler, written its
1948, is among the featured articles. The late Rabbi Adler, already
a leader in Conservative ranks 20 years ago, discussed "New Goals
for Conservative Judaism" in which he proposed "a program of
magnitude" that served as a guide for subsequent planning.

This is ancient history: JDC is longer
permitted to operate in Poland, and the JDC
records, if and when all of them are pub-
lished, will reveal a continuation of horrors
in the past half century that are unmatched
anywhere except under the Nazis. But while
this quotation is an ancient-history item, it
needs recalling because it reflects a Polish
government attitude that has not been inter-
rupted, the compassionate being in the al-
most invisible minority.
Whatever appeals or arguments "to for-
give and to forget" may be offered, as some
often are advanced in relation to Nazism,
are obviated when one turns to the article
by A. M. Rosenthal in the New York Times,
under the heading "Forgive Them Not, For
They Knew What They Did." As recently as
Oct. 24, 1965, Rosenthal, who reported
A former Detroiter, Rabbi Herbert Parzen, is represented la
for the N.Y. Times in 1958-59 and who was this collection with an essay "Abraham Joshua Heschel — a New
expelled from Poland, described the tragic Teacher and Personality in the Conservative Movement."
state of Polish Jewry, emphasized that "no
A large number of American Jewry's most distinguished scholars
real flavor of Warsaw's Jewishness survives is included
among the participating authors whose articles have been
the fire," and declared:
selected for this book. Robert Gordis, Louis Finkelstein, Julius Green-
These are my thoughts and memories stone, Solomon Goldman, Simon Greenberg, Jacob Agus, Israel M.
at the 25th anniversary of the beginning Goldman, Ben Zion Bokser, Nahum Goldmann, Mordecai M. Kaplan,
of the Warsaw Ghetto, and they are not Solomon Grayzel, Abraham Halkin and many others are represent
such as to lift men's hearts.
Dealing with "Basic Concepts" and significant factors in con-
I speak only of a microcosm, of the
i temporary Jewish life, as well as with eminent personalities, as well
small Polish world. Perhaps other men can as
with Jewish education and adult programing, devoting also
truthfully find in Poland or elsewhere section to America-Israel relations, there is material here for extensive a
richer meaning and hope in the lessons studies of Jewish events and of the needs that confront Jewish
men and nations have drawn from the communities.
martyred ghetto. I pray so.
Readers will be intrigued by the foreword by Dr. Finkelstein who
Then why speak of these things? Only
because 25 years later I simply cannot tell recalls that when, 10 years ago, he wrote an article for Fortune
Magazine in which he dealt with business morality, "a substantial
myself nor my sons that it cannot happen number
people understandably challenged my expertise in business
again. I can only tell them that there was affairs." of On
this score he comments:
a time of madness and that some of the
Jews of the ghetto fought the mad beast
"It is incontrovertibly true that in an industrial society like ours,
and died like men. And if it does happen the customs and morals and attitudes of business leaders pervade the
again, even if there are faint dark signs national life. Because business success is a national ideal, the values
that it might happen again, that most ter-. and skills which apparently help men to attain it are widely admired.
rible of all prayers will rise, from myself, Our real problem is to determine when achievement is illusory and
real, and to distinguish the patterns of behavior which will help
my sons and from men in all parts of the when
us to eschew the illusion and attain the goal." He recommends this
earth: "Forgive them not, Father, for they volume,
contending: "The businessmen who read these articles, who
knew what they did."
are concerned about the problems they raise, have taken an important
Indeed, it has been happening un- step toward responsibile decision-making. They have identified them-
interuptedly and it did happen. It is con- selves with their tradition; they are forming the habit of thinking
tinuing. We need to understand it. We can about problems which transcend their daily concerns. It seems to me
not forget it, we can not forgive it, for they reasonable to hope that they are also concerned about the fundamental
know what they are doing; and we also know ethical problems of our age, and that they will continue on the path,
that Jews who should know better and who from concern to reading to study, which will ultimately enable them
should have learned the lesson of heroism to live richly, and to contribute as Jews to our troubled society."
from the Warsaw Ghetto martyrs should
Just as concepts become more understandable, so, also, the
have rejected pressures. The Polish Jewish major personalities dealt with in this volume come alive again in the
spokesmen did not rebel against the anti- various essays. The reader learns to know more about Hadassah
Israel attitude during the Six-Day War, they through the sketch on Henrietta Szold. There are delineations of
are not protesting now and the battle is Solomon Schechter, Mordecai Kaplan, Louis Ginzburg, Cyrus Adler.
world Jewry's. We shall not abandon our fel- Simon Noveck's "The Legacy of Milton Steinberg" gives the reader
low Jews in spite of the Mah Yohfis element a view of the man who formulated constructive views on America*
—the method that was used to have Jews Jewish life and introduces him anew to those ideas.
dance for their tormentors while singing of the several anthologies published on Jews and Judaism In
traditional Hebrew hymns—which iS a corn- recent years, "Roads to Jewish Survival"
is among the most
plete negation of human dignity. ,, impressive.

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