Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Henderson)

During the course of a conversation which I had on another subject with Mr. Wankowicz, the Counselor of the Polish Embassy, he stated that he was very much disturbed regarding the Jewish situation in Poland at the present time. He said that for years there had been a strong under-current of antagonism among the Polish people, particularly the peasantry, towards the Jews and the Polish Government in the past had frequently encountered difficulties in endeavoring to prevent this feeling from giving rise to outbursts of violence. The Polish population, particularly in the country districts, had for some time been displaying increasingly strong tendencies not to patronize Jewish merchants and professional men and as a result there were hundreds of thousands of Jews at the present time in Poland without any means of livelihood. The Polish Government had tried at times, without any marked success, to facilitate the emigration of the surplus Jewish population to other countries.

He feared that the present inclination of certain countries which had refused to accept Polish Jews to admit German Jews as immigrants might cause the population of Poland to feel that the best method for getting rid of their own Jews would be to follow policies similar to those which had been adopted in Germany.42

He said that he hoped that it would be possible for his Government to succeed in its continued efforts to protect the Jews in Poland from violence but that certainly the difficulties in protecting the Jews in Poland had been greatly increased as the result of present international developments. Mr. Wankowicz added that his remarks to me represented his personal feeling and should not be considered as of an official nature. He emphasized the fact that in making them he was not acting under instructions of his Government or of the Embassy.

  1. See also memorandum by the Chief of the Division of European Affairs, November 19, vol. i, p. 835.