860c.4016/86: Telegram

The Minister in Poland (Gibson) to the Acting Secretary of State20

63. After personal investigation on the spot Foster reports as follows: General riot in Cracow on June 6th, one Christian woman and one Jewish boy killed by stray bullet. About 100 injured including police, Christian[s], and Jews. Affair started by Polish officer attempting to arrest two ruffians fighting in the street. Crowd of about 2,000 collecting on rumor that Haller’s soldiers were attacked, divided into small groups scattered through the city shouting “Down with speculators, profiteers, and high prices. Down with the Jews.” No disturbance until one group met on edge of Jewish quarter armed Jewish militia coming to assist police. Militia fired one salvo which excited mob which attacked and disarmed them and started pillage. Shots from windows in another section on edge of Jewish quarter excited another group which started pillaging there. By 10 o’clock general confusion throughout the city which police unable to quiet called for military patrols. By two in the morning situation in hand. A second attempt by ruffians on June 7th to start disorder was quickly stopped. American representative of Y.M.C.A. present at the time states that affair was hardly more than a strike riot in America but inefficiency of police allowed mobs to get out of hand. Several Christian shops as well as Jewish pillaged. Cracow a known center for Bolshevik and [Page 763] German agitators, the presence of whom with high prices and general unemployment of rough laboring elements creates a difficult situation which is easily upset.

  1. Forwarded by the Commission to Negotiate Peace as No. 2568.