The Ambassador in Poland (Biddle) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 29—4:20 p.m.]
39. 1. Supplementing my cables No. 30, March 24, noon,33 and No. 36, March 28, 10 a.m., the following bills and their respective status in relation to Sejm and Senate are indicative of intensification of anti-Semitism in Poland:[Page 652]
A. Citizenship bill: Attributable to the German-Austrian coup, was initiated by the Government and passed today. With the exception of Jewish and Ukrainian Deputies none protested against bill.
B. Bill for reorganization of legal bar: Initiated by Government, passed by Sejm, amended by Senate and returned to Sejm for reconsideration. I look for it to be approved before April 1, (end of present session). Though no actual reference is made to Jews in bill, both the Deputy and the Senator, in presenting the bill, went on record to the effect that the bill represented the only way to limit Jewish admissions to the bar. (53 per cent of present bar membership are Jewish.)
(1) This bill comprises the following three essential points:
- Minister of Justice empowered to close the ranks of the practicing lawyers by prohibiting new members from entering the bar association.
- Changes in conditions of entrance to the legal profession: The student is obliged to serve 2 years probationary court work, afterwards, 3 years with a practicing attorney, and then submit to examination before being finally admitted to the bar. This new regulation empowers the bar to refuse the application for probationary court work in the case of Jews, without an explanation. Formerly a university graduate was required to serve 5 years in the office of a practicing attorney whereafter in the event of his passing the required examination he became entitled to practice.
- Greater Government control of the bar association which formerly enjoyed freedom of election of members.
C. Bill prohibiting ritual slaughter: was not initiated by Government but passed by Sejm in short order despite urgent recommendations against it by Vice Minister of Creeds and Public Instruction who pointed out that the bill was unconstitutional and by Vice Minister of Agriculture who said it might have a dangerous effect on economic situation by potential diminution of meat consumption by the Jews. Of pertinent interest 2,500,000 Jews in Poland eat only ritual or kosher meat.
(1) Of related interest a bill limiting ritual slaughter was passed in 1937 after 1 year’s debate. The fact that (a) this new bill completely prohibits ritual slaughter and (b) since it passed the Sejm in short order and only five racial deputies protested in addition to the Jewish and Ukrainian protests marks a great increase of anti-Semitism. Whereas the bill has passed the Sejm I look for the Senate under Government pressure to postpone action thereon during the present session. Past events show that the Senate is more liberal than the Sejm in respect to the Jews.
- Not printed.↩