Our history has been enriched by one more year.
Another year is over with all its happenings, both good and bad. We have grown more mature and that enables us to learn lessons and draw suitable conclusions. Together with Jewry as a whole, Kalish Jewry has to make a summing-up at the close of the past year in the fields of culture and economics alike. Let our more satisfactory achievements serve us as an example in order that we may double them in the future. And let our errors serve as warning to our leading personalities in order that they may not repeat them. Let us briefly survey the departing year before we bid it farewell.
We would have done better if we had chosen Lack of Culture as our heading or, if we had left a blank space. For if we propose to discuss this subject at all, we shall blush with shame at the ostensible cultural achievements of our city.
There is not a single Jewish society or association party group which does not feel that it has the holy duty of promising its members, in the very first lines of its programme, that it is going to do wonders in the field of culture. All the parties, right and left, orthodox and other, promised their members that they would provide a series of informative lectures which would help to satisfy the general longing for and aspiration towards information and science in general and Jewish knowledge in particular. Surely this was a field in which every group could show its capacity and prowess and talents. How regrettable that none of these possibilities was realised. Nothing more was achieved than a few beginnings at the most.
During the whole of the past year not a single important lecture was delivered and not one scientific lesson was given in the fields to which we referred. All we heard was petty party skirmishing and the settling of private accounts which spoilt the members for anything useful; and that was all!
A somewhat more serious approach and a little goodwill might have given rise to tremendous results. If the leaders of the Societies take this to heart, the error will not be repeated.
The education situation in the community is more or less satisfactory. There is a network of hadarim and schools. Every party or current spares neither money nor effort and they all do their best to ensure the proper education of the younger generation. Obviously, each party does what it can to inculcate its own approach and methods but this does not worry us much. Every Jewish father endeavours to send his children to the institution that is closest to his own point of view.
Besides the hadarim and elementary schools, we also have a gymnasium with eight classes, the Havatzelet School for girls and the Trade School. In the course of their existence these institutions have rightly won the
approval of the public. However, two matters in this field are not satisfactory.
To begin with, a certain section of the parents do not appreciate these schools but send their children to Christian schools which are alien where their Jewish souls are spoilt and they become estranged from their own people. This is partly due to insufficient explanation and propaganda but it is something that can still be put right.
The second mistake is that fourteen hundred children are sent to government schools where they are almost forcibly estranged from us. We shall suffer from this mistake before long when this young generation grows up to be entirely assimilationist and absolutely without any contact with us.
However, we have done our duty on all occasions and opportunities and from our columns we have warned the public, rebuking them for the great wrong done to our little ones. The correction of this mistake lies in the hands of our communal worthies who have both the power and the resources.
In our city, wholesale and retail trade together with handicrafts to some degree are dependent on the village purchasers. They in turn are dependent on the crops which fix the peasants' purchasing power. During recent years the peasants and farmers have become accustomed to using better quality products and now their purchases depend entirely on their income.
Last year the crops were unsatisfactory and obviously the farmer's purchasing power fell off considerably. But at the beginning of the harvest, when the peasant hungers for goods, he disregards such considerations and buys whatever comes his way. And so the last year can be divided into two parts: During the early months trade was almost satisfactory but during the rest of the year it was almost at a complete standstill.
However, the local tax commissioner completely ignored the state of business and last year the tax press squeezed hard. If the appeals of most of the merchants are not satisfactorily considered, they will simply have to shut their shops.
The three Jewish economic organizations should have done far more in order to make the tax authorities realise the real situation of the merchants and in that way save trade and commerce from collapse.
The Lace Industry
The Lace Industry, which was once the backbone of Kalish economy and a decisive influence in the rapid development of the city has ceased to be important since the war and has hardly any influence at all. All efforts to sign a Commercial Agreement with Russia have been unsuccessful although Russia, before the war, was the main customer of the local Lace Industry. So for the time being and until trade with neighbouring countries is restored, our industrialists must rest satisfied with the local market.
The result is that the machines work for only six months a year and in only a few factories. The absence of any steady demand has compelled the lace
manufacturers to unite or at least not to compete with one another. They have set up a common fund to which each manufacturer makes a certain contribution per kilogram of finished product. When the branch is at a standstill, the manufacturer receives seventy-five zloty per week for each machine standing idle.
The Fine Lace Industry has recently begun to develop in our city. Hundreds of these machines are now operating here. But as long as the Tariff War with Germany continues, there is no hope of better prospects in this branch. In any case, it is clear that when a Trade Agreement is signed with Germany, the government will have to take this manufacture into account in order to prevent the Polish market from being flooded by German lace.
In some measure, this industry has solved the problem of unemployment for the present and the government must take this into consideration.
The second branch of industry in which Kalish stands out and of which it is proud is its flour mills. Kalish plays an important part in the food supply of Poland through its flour industry. The grain that is ground here reaches the whole of Zaglembia from Kattowitz on the one side and as far as Bialystok, Vilna and the Russian frontier on the other.
This development of the industry and the numerous mills secure the living of large numbers of Jews. It also supports quite a few grain merchants who sell their goods by the railway waggon and market merchants who also supply the grain to the mills.
Last year the crop was not satisfactory and the grain trade was almost at a standstill. Most of the corn was imported and the large mills managed without difficulty. This was not so easy for the small mills, including dealers and agents who have nothing to do because all transactions were signed directly with the mills.
The market dealers have no business because next to no grain was bought from the villages. To sum up, the flour mills did not have a bad year though the trade in cereals underwent a crisis.
The export of bran and chaff to Germany, which always served as an important factor in regulating the price of flour in Poland, has recently been prohibited. More precisely, a customs duty of 7.5 zloty per cubic metre has been imposed. This duty has stopped exports completely. It would only be proper to abolish it. Poland has never been in a position to consume all the bran and chaff it produces. Now, in view of the tremendous surpluses and the fall in prices, the millers will have to find themselves some compensation by raising the price of flour and it is clear that the government is not interested in that.
Kalish has done a great deal in this respect and is certainly not behind other cities in the country. Here we have two Cooperative Banks which largely help the Jewish merchants. Their tremendous development is the best
proof possible of the confidence they have gained in local mercantile circles.
The second institution which has gained the confidence of the public is the Gemilut Hassadim Fund also known as the Relief Committee whose loans are granted without interest. Thousands of families who would otherwise have had to apply for charity have recovered thanks to the assistance of the Relief Committee and that is certainly a tremendous achievement.
Those in brief are our achievements during the past year. As remarked, let us hope that the errors will serve as a warning and not be repeated while the achievements are doubled and more.
May a New Year begin with all its blessing.
We are on the threshold of a New Year to which we look forward with hope and faith. To be sure, it is only the faith of the Jew that gives us the strength to withstand our distresses and look ahead to better times. Today, at the end of 5688, let us sum up the debit and credit sides of Jewish life in Kalish.
We shall register the important events and preserve them in our memory in order to forestall the evil that may come and in the hope of doubling the good in-so-far as we have done good deeds. May these words be a thanksgiving offering to those individuals who worked to help the Jewish public in Kalish and may those who neglected their public duties give ear and magnify their efforts so as not to lag behind their good colleagues in the year to come.
The greatest impress on the public was made by the local government elections. The Jewish statesmen of the city became ardently enthusiastic and we even feared that we would never achieve any joint Jewish list at all. However, political common sense proved victorious and the large and influential parties presented a common list. Thanks to the joint stand in the elections of such parties as the Agudat Israel, the Zionists and the Small Merchants, we won a complete victory. List N°16 gained the largest number of seats as it had fondly hoped.
Still, it is true that if their votes had been supplemented by the lost votes of List N°8 and the surpluses of List N°17, the number of Jewish councillors would have been still greater. But we shall never be short of personal ambitions and it seems that we shall never succeed in surmounting them.
The satisfactory results of the victory were soon seen. The successful election of our candidate to the office of Alderman will certainly ensure a satisfactory and beneficial policy in the Town Hall for the good of Jewish Kalish. And we may certainly say that our work was not in vain.
It is possible that sceptics do not yet see the golden mountains of the new policy. Let us remind them of the Polish proverb that Krakow was not built in a day. It would be a good thing if several of our local hotheads were to remember this.
The Town Council is opening its term of office while our Kehilla (Jewish Communal Council) is preparing for elections because its term of office will soon be over.
According to information from the District Offices, the elections must be over by December 2. So the Kehilla Executive and Council will do well before giving up office to publish a report of activities during their four-years at their posts.
We are very well aware that when things were taken over from the Parnassim (wardens) it was necessary to begin everything from the beginning. And indeed, the organization of the business of the Kehilla is a great achievement and will be remembered in favour of the Executive who did not flinch from responsibility but transferred the Shehita (ritual slaughter) to its own control. A beginning has been made with the construction of the Talmud Torah Building but when will it be finished? In addition, the Mikveh has been improved and the allocations for certain institutions have been paid. Yet, it must be stated that the Kehilla is not sufficiently interested or maybe not interested at all in the education of the younger generation.
Thousands of Jewish children are being educated according to principles which are alien, almost hostile, to everything that is Jewish; yet the Kehilla disregards this. Surely it is in a position to help by opening an afternoon school for children attending the government schools? That will save Jewish children! In addition, the children at the Talmud Torah are taught unsystematically and without any useful purpose. For what is a Jewish child trained to do after he leaves the Talmud Torah?
Why do we not remember the old Talmudic statement that any study of Torah which is not accompanied with a handicraft leads to idleness? Let us hope that this defect will be corrected in the new building.
We have heard a great deal about the restoration of the synagogue but see no signs of any steps being taken. Every year allocations are made for the Relief Committee yet they are not given a penny. Surely it would be better not to allocate anything and finish, as is the practice with TOZ and various other institutions.
And we have another question to the Community Executive: What is the point in electing a Council and calling on it to approve the Budget if it is not invited to hear a Report on activities?
Large numbers of Jews find a little help in the Cooperative Bank. The tremendous progress which the Bank has made during the last year marks
an institution of which Kalish Jewry may well be proud. Nor is it a matter for pride alone. The Bank has really saved thousands of shopkeepers and craftsmen who have been delivered from the money-lenders in the streets only thanks to the help it has given. For the Bank's affairs are in full order and show us that all currents which represent the general public in it are capable of working together harmoniously. We have only to wish it continued success and expansion in the same way as it has grown until now.
Just as the Cooperative Bank has worked for the benefit of the masses of craftsmen and small shopkeepers, so the Merchants' Bank has helped the industrialists and larger merchants. This is a relatively youthful institution in our city but it already enjoys the recognition and esteem of the bigger businessmen and manufacturers. It was easy for us to learn what is going on here. At the general meeting of the Merchants' Bank we heard a report on its activities. No better proof of the confidence of the public, which is so justly vested in the Bank, can be found than its tremendous turnover during the past year. The Institution was established thanks to the initiative of a few individuals and owing to their obstinacy and persistence; we now have a Bank of which we may be proud.
These institutions with all their local activity are incomparably helpful to merchants, manufacturers and craftsmen alike. Yet, at the same time, the Gemilut Hassadim Fund is a necessity for thousands of families whom the Banks cannot help. The slight assistance they are given they receive from this Fund, or, as it is called, the Relief Committee. It is superfluous to write about all that this institution does for everybody can see the results. Yet, it is our duty to remark that the Jewish public of Kalish has not yet shown any adequate appreciation for it.
Admittedly we must point out again that in spite of our repeated reminders the Management of the Gemilut Hassadim has not yet found time to engage in a drive for contributions; and if no one demands, nobody gives. It follows that both sides are equally to blame, the Management and the public alike. It is our duty to give a warning. If the Fund does not expand its activities it will deviate from the purposes laid down by its founders and will gradually be transformed into nothing more than a very large charitable institution.
This is how things appear: one the one hand, efforts are made to help Jews to hold out while, on the other hand, the pressure of taxes is increasing to unimaginable dimensions and may well take the food from the mouths of many Jewish families. The Income Tax rates are now being fixed and the fate of every Jew will be sealed. The Jewish economic associations must stand on guard, carefully preparing all the material that is submitted to Committee members in order that the latter may be able to work properly. If this is not done, all the outcry of those who are badly treated will be useless later on; particularly those who have been wrongly assessed by mistake.
The Jewish economic societies displayed ample activity last year and then something became perfectly clear. As the influence of the political parties on the masses declined, the influence of the economic organizations grew greater.
We shall not try to explain this development now. Yet, it is clear to us that a large part of the change is due to the disappointment of the public. The political parties deceived them more than once by promising mountains and valleys without fulfilling any of their promises. Let this serve as a lesson to the Economic Societies which have gained the hegemony over the Jewish street. Let them be more careful in their methods and act according to the rule: Say little but do much!
The condition of cultural activities in our city is a miserable one. There is not even a single serious organization or society to engage in our cultural and educational problems without narrow political and party interests.
We regret that most of our Jews in Kalish have no understanding of what may be the most important issue of all: We always see the same sad sight. While one drags right the other drags left; and the ordinary Jew, the all-year-round Jew remains perplexed and confused and does not know what to do. Finally, he pays no attention neither to one nor to the other and meanwhile he sends his children to the Government schools. As a result, the younger generation of Jews gradually become a weak limb of the nation, assimilating little-by-little. At the same time, the party leaders to right and left can hear mocking laughter at their pretended concern for Jewish culture, but by now, they are unable to improve matters. We can see how, when it is a matter of sharing posts, honours, etc. the leaders of all the parties can reach an immediate understanding, but when it is a matter of what may be the most important issue of all, they cannot find a modus vivendi. These gentlemen should remember that if they do not pay careful attention to this matter they may be left without a Community to control.
It is notable that while many institutions only exist for the seat and the rubber stamp, a youthful institution like TOZ has already achieved much. Here we shall not refer to its financial resources. If the Jews of Kalish were to help it properly, its activities would naturally be wider and better. In spite of this, TOZ has maintained summer holiday camps for three hundred children during two seasons. The children receive good food and proper pedagogical and medical supervision. We can only hope that TOZ will be well supported and helped to rebuild an orphanage for winter its immediate objective.
The above is a brief summary of Jewish life in Kalish during 5688. There is much to improve. Let those who can improve matters take the necessary steps. We ourselves shall continue to support every just cause, we shall be a platform for every just complaint and help to realize every good idea. Maybe we shall at last achieve the old say: May the year with its curses end and the year with its blessings begin.
Let us now try to sum up all the joys and sorrows of Kalish Jewry during the past year. If we paint ourselves the necessary picture, we shall be able to prepare a report and learn lessons for the future from it.
To be sure, we were full of hope at the beginning of the year and were certain that things would begin to go well. For it was hard to assume that we would still have the strength to bear any more spiritual and economic crises. But it seems that there are no limits to trouble and distress and people can be relied on to reveal the strength to withstand them as they come.
The parting year which was so tragic for Jewry throughout the world because it ended with the savage disturbances in Eretz Israel, was certainly not happy in any economic respect for Polish Jewry. In this regard, we underwent a great shock. This unhappy situation also reigned in the economic life of Kalish, particularly in local industry which is largely in Jewish hands. There were certain branches in which competition was almost save and the merchants and dealers took bills whose dated payment were deferred almost indefinitely.
The transformation that came about in the whole country regarding the date of payment of promissory notes naturally did not miss Kalish. As a result, there were quite a few cases of bankruptcy and the closing of businesses in the city. By now, the situation has begun to settle down and those factories that have surmounted the crisis are secure, more or less. They are doing their best to make a profit and are even succeeding.
The economic situation of the city suffered a severe blow through the bankruptcy of the Bank Kupiecki. This was a popular institution headed by outstanding business and social personalities. As was natural, the presence of those leaders ensured that the masses would be able to trust the institution. Undoubtedly the merchant, or anybody else, deposited his savings in this Bank because he believed in the responsibility of the Management. The community was struck by the news of the failure like thunder from the bright blue sky. After a year of waiting, the depositors have not yet seen a penny of their savings. Those trustworthy leaders are to blame for this delay.
It is not surprising that this unforeseen financial collapse of a Jewish Institution has also give rise to uncertainty about other Jewish institutions of this kind in Kalish. The public has begun to think and hesitate. But the healthy instinct of the masses ensured their trust in the Cooperative Bank and we are happy that we have learnt that the popular instinct was not wrong. From this incident we have learnt a very significant lesson. An institution does not need noisy publicity nor does it have to be headed by stars. It is better if it is a popular institution managed by simple people for then it can be trusted.
While we are dealing with our local financial institutions we should mention the important part played by the Gemilut Hassadim Fund among the craftsmen and small merchants in general for it saves them from destruction and economic extinction. In the process of pauperization which the Jewish
masses are undergoing, the Gemilut Hassadim Funds are a true salvation. Yet, at the same time, we must note the complete indifference of our well-to-do circles towards this useful institution. This attitude of theirs is almost a scandal. It may cripple the existence of the Fund and deprive hundreds of Jewish families in our city of a crust of bread.
Jewish Economic Societies
During the past year there have been several domestic revolutions, and changes that have taken place in the leading positions. In the first line came the Merchants' Society where Mr. Shelak was elected chairman. He was also chosen as Adviser to the Lodz Chamber of Commerce. This change came about as a result of the bankruptcy of the Merchants' Bank whose directors were also the heads of the Society. After the changes in the management, the Merchants' Society regained the confidence of the Jewish public. It is now a very useful economic body that does a great deal for its members.
The second change came in the Society of Artisans whose previous management had taken a very arrogant personal line. Its dictatorial methods gave rise to dissatisfaction and the General Meeting elected ordinary people without any labels that had been prepared in advance. Truth to tell, the struggle in this Society is not over yet. Things are not yet entirely in order but even in this case we can rely on the healthy instincts of the members and believe that they will elect the leaders they deserve.
On the other hand, there has been no change in the Small Merchants' Society. The heads of this Society are concerned first and foremost with the heavy burden of taxation and the problems of making a living which always worry the numerous members. There is no room for personal intrigues in the life of the worried small merchants who have to manage from day-to-day. In general, those responsible for the activities of this Society stand firm and defend their members' interests wherever this is necessary.
Yet, what can be the supposed strength of these three economic Organizations against the Sword of Damocles named 'taxes' which always hangs over their heads?
In this respect, our City is worse off than others and the tax machine grinds mercilessly here. With all our efforts to make things somewhat easier, we have failed. So it was with the Assessment on Turnover and so it is now with the Income Tax Assessment, which is at present under preparation in our city and is terrifying the remnant of the merchants. That is what economic life is like in Kalish today.
There have been no improvements in our social life either. The Kehilla, (Community Council), whose terms of office is long over, did not do anything serious in the year 5689. Indifference, somnolence, helplessness all marked the activities of our representatives. They did nothing! They showed no initiative and took no positive steps in the fields of charity or culture. The Kehilla does not have the necessary cooperation and harmony for public well-being. Our wardens and bosses do not even dream of worrying about the education
of thousands of children, some of whom receive a 'supposed education' in the choking atmosphere of the Talmud Torah whose new building is still under construction Most of them are drawing away from their people and their own language in the official schools while nobody says a word. The quarrels about the Dayan (Assistant Rabbi) and Cantor have continued for a long time but nobody has even given a thought to really serious communal activity.
Even the hospital has been neglected and that has caused much distress and bitterness. Yet, we have not seen any real steps in this field either. The party-men are out for party victories all the time to the discredit of the other sides. So, sure enough, scarcely anything has been achieved during 5689.
Matters are different in the Local Authority. In the Jewish 'Group' there you can find harmonious cooperation. Our representatives do their best to exploit every opportunity and every possibility for the benefit of the public. We owe this largely to our Alderman. Thanks to him the Relief Funds of the Local Government and other sources were opened to us in order to make Jewish poverty a little easier. In general, ever since Mr. Heber has entered this post, the degraded position of the Jew in the Municipal institutions has faded away little-by-little.
To be sure, there is nothing to be enthusiastic about. We know that much water will still flow down to the sea before our rights become an actual fact. But this is not restricted to Kalish alone. In this respect we have to take part in the struggle of all Polish Jewry.
Cultural activities among the Jewish population have not improved at all. The regrettable situation we recorded last year is still to be found. All this field of action has become stamped with the party credos and there is no genuine concern for cultural education.
In this respect, the situation is so regrettable that there is simply nothing to report. Let us hope that matters will improve next year and that there will be more positive developments.
Yes, in the field of physical education, Jewish Kalish developed well during 5689. A number of Jewish Sports Clubs were established and are developing satisfactorily. In addition, the 15th birthday of the Yiddish Turn and Sports Club was celebrated on a lavish scale.
So here is a brief summary of public activity in Jewish Kalish. In general, it was a very difficult year both economically and socially. The positive lessons to be learnt from this year's developments are very few. Let them serve as a warning for the future.
May the year 5689 with all that happened during it be relegated to the past and may the coming year bring happiness to us and to all of Israel.
We stand on the threshold of a New Year. Let us try to sum up Jewish life in Kalish during the year that has passed.
To tell the truth, we did not expect miracles but the realities were far worse than we had anticipated. The economic life of the whole country reached a very low point and it is not surprising that Jewish trade and industry fell even lower. Jewish Kalish shared in the grave economic crisis. Factories were closed or worked only parttime. In general, no buyers were found for their goods. The crisis was made even worse by the fact that the Jewish industrialists received no government credits and credit from the street did not permit manufacture on any reasonable basis of calculation. The Jewish merchants and craftsmen found a little consolation in the meagre amount of credit provided by the Cooperative Bank.
However, this institution was also hit by the general situation and is now in a state of convalescence. We shall not go seeking for the causes of this situation. Larger institutions were shaken last year and actually collapsed while our Cooperative Bank held firm. To be sure, banking activities were diminished this year but we were not in a position to increase them. Still, we have to strengthen the Bank for by doing so we shall all grow stronger.
The Artisan's Society underwent an internal crisis during the year. Control went back to the ‘veteran’ leaders though there have been changes in the external representation. The near future will show whether this is going to help.
Yet, whatever our economic representatives may do to make the crisis easier, they cannot change the situation for the roots of the distress lie in the tax system which crushes trade and industry. Our Kalish, which in this respect is under ‘close supervision’, is simply being levelled flat under the burden of heavy taxation. Our only hope lies in recent rumours of tax cancellations for several years and a radical change in the Income Tax system. For the time being, we live on hope, and we very much hope that these will not end like similar election promises.
A result of the present crisis is the tremendous increase in the number of persons applying for loans to the Gemilut Hassadim Fund. This institution is the real barometer for the Jewish economic situation. To our regret, we witness a complete contrast between the desirable and the actual situations. The greater the numbers of applicants, the fewer are the supporters. The number of weekly contributors to the Fund grows less and less every week, and the management are not in a position to satisfy the increasing number of applications. It is the sacred duty of our local Jewish population to support this Fund which is at present the most useful thing we have.
In our Kehilla there is domestic peace. The members of the executive are finding ways not to fight. They always discover the golden mean which satisfies all groups represented. The only time there was anything like a quarrel was when several wardens wanted to appoint two additional Dayanim. However, common sense prevailed and for the time being it is not an urgent issue. That is what our communal representative institution is like. Silence
no disputes, indifference, slumber without effort or action. Does this idyll give evidence of fruitful public activity? We shall not answer this question here. But, it is generally agreed that our wardens could be doing considerably more.
Kalish saw one satisfactory development with the restoration of the Great Synagogue. It is true that those who prayed there were literally risking their lives because bricks and pieces of plaster had begun to fall on their heads. Thanks to the energy and insistence of the members of the new synagogue committee, the interior has been restored and renovated. Apart from the assurance regained by the congregation, they now have an aesthetically satisfying House of Prayer as well. We should add that the vast financial resources which were needed for the restoration were collected by the committee from the local Jewish population; and that is a happy situation which should be note.
Jewish cultural life has been marked by complete neglect. During the past year, no activity in this field could be noticed. Good will, to be sure, was shown and even a strong desire to found a Cultural Society. But ideas alone are not enough. The nonestablishment of such an institution is the sin of the local Jewish cultural representatives. We must on no account neglect this matter. We shall go on demanding the establishment of a Jewish Cultural Society in Kalish until it has been established.
On the other hand, our educational institutions are fairly satisfactory. We have a firstclass Trade School conducted according to the most uptodate pedagogical principles, with a staff of excellent teachers. In spite of this, it is rather backward. This is due to the masses of Jews who still refuse to understand how important the school is for the coming generation of craftsmen. The Jewish public has to get used to the idea of vocational training in every way possible and raise a new generation in this school for its own benefit.
The Jewish Gymnasium does not require any publicity at all. The Matriculation Certificates which it issues every year and its large number of pupils are the best evidence of the excellent education which it provides.
But the Jewish public have not done their duty for the gymnasium. They have not taken steps to provide it with a building of its own suited to the needs of such an important institution. The time has come to bring bricks for construction. Our community has to do this job as a matter of sheer selfrespect.
Mention should be made of the political maturity shown by the Jews in the last elections to the Seim and the Senate. At many public meetings, a firm and absolute demand was made to establish an allinclusive National Election Block. We know beyond any shadow of doubt that if two lists are presented the local seat is certain to be lost. So, even if the leaders of the parties in Warsaw do not reach an agreement on this, our own region must present a united list of its own, headed by a generally respected leader of the community.
This balance sheet is not at all a cheerful one. The path of the Jewish Community is strewn with thorns. Still, we tread it restored and full of faith. May this be our consolation. The year is passing and we are now waiting for better times. May they come indeed!
The year 5691 was difficult for Jews in every respect. The terrible world crisis which has affected so many nations and countries penetrated deep into Jewish life and shook our wellbased positions. The year marked by the economic ruin that ran riot throughout the world and hit the Jews the hardest of all. As a result, all other problems of Jewish life became of secondary importance and our thoughts were dedicated only to finding a refuge from the crisis and easing the distress. Yet, in spite of this, we shall try to sum up the important events of our Jewish world.
This was first and foremost the year of elections. Elections were held to the Seim and the Senate. The Jewish parties all acted separately and a deep abyss appeared between them. This division and struggle grew even deeper in the recent elections to the Kehilla in which the Agudat Israel and the Zionists chiefly contended against one another. The atmosphere of those days still continues and to our regret, there is no likelihood that these two elements will extend their hands to one another for the sake of Jewish interests which call for unity and intensified work together at this critical hour.
The Shehita (slaughtering) fees scandal exacerbated the quarrels and division. It was found that the Kehilla had been deceitfully robbed of many thousands of zloty. The Zionist wardens actually threatened to bring slaughterers of their own.
During the past year, the Jewish representatives in the Town Council and the Jewish Community as a whole fought a bitter fight for the existence of the Jewish Hospital. There were certain groups that wished to liquidate this institution entirely, or at least to merge it in the Polish hospital; thus restricting its activities to a minimum and ensuring that in due course it would be entirely forgotten. Our journal, Kalisher Leben was the first to sound the alarm. We awakened Jewish public opinion and conducted a campaign to ensure that the institution should remain a Jewish Hospital in all respects.
The Jewish Council members and various communal figures conducted stormy consultations. The Jewish public protested at mass meetings. Finally, those who wished to destroy the Jewish character of the hospital and close it down, had to give way to the pressure of the Jewish public opinion which proved to be firm and united on this matter.
In connection with this campaign, Doctor Edward Beatus published a series of articles in the Kalisher Leben in which he proved by historical facts that the Jewish Hospital belonged to the Jews and that Jews alone had the right to own it.
The economic crisis also led the Town Council to cancel its allocations to Jewish charitable institutions. Naturally, this decision shook those bodies which are undergoing a severe crisis. As a result, such an important institution as the nocturnal First Aid Station of the Linat Hatsedek Society was closed down. That is a tremendous loss for the Jewish community. Let us hope that the latter will have the sense to assess this night service at its proper value.
We should also note that this year, after great effort, part of the building of the Talmud Torah has been completed. Now, at last, several hundred pupils of the Talmud Torah will be able to study in spacious and airy rooms and not in dark and filthy premises.
This year, the economic societies showed special activity. The paralysis of trade and the bad times in the economy in general compelled the public to associate in economic societies, just as people cling to wooden planks and boards after shipwreck. This year, Guilds of all occupations have been established in the Artisans' Association which is particularly important for each separately and for all of them together.
The Merchants' Society and Small Merchants' Society have also shown considerable activity. Mention should be made of the 5th Anniversary celebration of the latter Society at which its considerable achievements were well displayed.
Last year the authorities closed down the other Association of small merchants (at Warszawska 24) and its members then reorganized as a section of the Merchants' Association.
This has also been a fateful year for the Cooperative Bank which was so strong in the past. At first, it seemed that this Bank, which is the pride of all Jewish Kalish, would finally overcome its difficulties and once again be what it had been. But apparently, it could not regain the confidence of its clientele. Finally, it was declared bankrupt and is now about to be wound up. It has been replaced during the past year by two new Credit Institutions. One is the Small Merchants' Cooperative Fund which supplies credit to its members, most of whom are small merchants. The other is the Credit Cooperative founded by Zionist figures whose members are mostly the large and medium merchants.
Naturally, these two banks have not progressed as rapidly as the Cooperative Bank did at first. This is because of the present economic crisis and above all, owing to the loss of trust on the part of the clients after the collapse of two major Jewish credit institutions in our city. But the persons heading the new institutions are such that in the course of time these will come to enjoy the full confidence of the Jewish public once again.
In the cultural field there is now a deathly silence just as there has been for so long a time. Nothing whatever is being done. On the contrary. There were a few stouthearted people who wished to set up a Cultural Society with the purpose of satisfying the cultural requirements of its members and the Jewish public. But the institution has also collapsed and is now in the process of liquidation. This fact proves for maybe the 100th time that in our city the Jewish public has no cultural needs at all; and in addition, it lacks suitable personalities who are capable of interesting the public in any cultural matters at all.
For a long time there was a struggle within the Yiddishe Turn und Sport Verein as to whether its flag should be blueandwhite or greenandwhite. Finally, it was resolved to change the flag from greenandwhite to blueandwhite.
Mention should also be made of the Central Hehalutz which celebrated its 5th year this year.
Among those who passed away in the year 5691 were the devoted leader of the Artisan's Association, Abraham Rubin who was one of the founders and editors of Kalisher Leben; Reb Wolf Feiffer, the veteran communal head, warden of the Great Synagogue and most honoured communal worthy; Reb Noah Zaludkowski, the beloved cantor of the community who was honoured by all and Leon Margulies, the veteran Secretary of the Kehilla.
We are on the threshold of a New Year, concern in our faces, our skies overcast, while the future of the Jewish people seems to be very black. The grave economic crisis and the terrible poverty have created a spirit of depression, without a single ray of light allowing us to hope for a better morrow. But let us hope that the New Year will disperse the gloomy clouds on the horizon and bring with it courage, faith and hope for a better future.
May this be the end of a year with its curses and the beginning of a year with its blessings.
The year 5692 was marked by the effects of the general crisis which spreads all over the world and has impressed a special stamp on the Jewish masses.
The process of economic pauperization of the Jews has gone ahead with giant strides and is affecting a steadily increasing number of victims. The extent of the effects of the crisis on the Jewish population can be seen from the following fact: At the time of Passover, measures initiated by the Kehilla - 70% of the Jews in the City registered for help.
The crisis has been particularly severe for large numbers of small merchants and artisans whose earnings have declined to a minimum on account of both the general poverty and the high taxes imposed upon them by the authorities. Their situation during the past year has been particularly bad on account of the ceaseless attacks and pogroms which have so greatly affected the fair and market travellers in the Poznan region which is the source of livelihood for a large section of each group. Only after the intervention of the local economic organizations and the central bodies in Warsaw did all these attacks come to an end.
The grave economic crisis also compelled the local Jewish economic organizations to engage in urgent measures on behalf of their members. It must be said that the Merchants' Association, the Small Merchants' Association and the Artisans' Association have achieved a great deal. Anybody checking on the work done, the meetings held and the various measures of intercession must confess that these bodies have done much to ease the fate and conditions of their respective members. Particular activity was shown by the Market dealers' section of the Small Merchants' Society which did a great deal to help calm things down at the fairs and markets.
It is not surprising that in such a grave economic situation the state of public and communal institutions is also bad and there can be no improvement in communal life such as might have come about in better times. In spite of this, let us sum up our more important institutions.
One happy development during the past year was the opening of the new Talmud Torah Building for hundreds of pupils who had been studying so far in unhygienic and absolutely unbearable surroundings. The new building enables them to enjoy pure air and study in healthy surroundings. The building consists of two and a half storeys and cost 120,000 zloty, which were provided by the Kehilla budget and very large contributions from private individuals. Here, mention must be made of the struggle between the Talmud Torah Committee and the young men studying in the Bet Hamidrash, who demanded the best structure for themselves and for that reason, engaged in sabotage which the Committee could overcome only with difficulty.
This year, the Linat Hatsedek Society has opened a pharmacy in order to help the impoverished Jewish population to purchase remedies. This pharmacy was established with great effort and several thousand zloty were invested in it. Owing to this investment, the Society had to suspend its Firstaid night service but succeeded in resuming it after a while. During the past year, the Linat Hatsedek Society was particularly active. In addition to the pharmacy, it also opened a dispensary for examining the sick poor. The work of the Society is particularly important during these difficult days of crisis for it provides cheap medical aid for poor Jews.
The Polish Territorial Conference of the Linat Hatsedek was held in Kalish on the initiative of our local Society and was attended by several dozen delegates from all the cities of Poland. Discussions on the problems of providing medical aid for the Jewish population continued for two days.
Mention must also be made of the changes that have come about in Jewish sport affairs. Hitherto, there had been two Jewish sports clubs - Hakoah and the Turn und Sport Verein. The former used the bluewhite flag and the latter had a greenwhite flag. More recently, certain members of the YTSC demanded that their flag should also be blue and white. This led to a severe struggle between the two parties which took the form of meetings and discussions in the press and in public. Finally, after several tempestuous gatherings, it was decided to adopt the bluewhite flag. Soon after, it was decided to liquidate both clubs alike and combine them in one large Maccabi Sports Organization. This unification came about and today there is one Maccabi Sports Club (that is, apart from Stern Labour Sports Club).
Mention should also be made of the struggle among the Jewish boating society members which was formerly called Jewish Boatmen's Society. Several members of the Club demanded that its name be changed to K.W.30 in order that the Jewish part of the name should not be constantly in the eyes of the Poles.
There were debates at meetings and in the press as well. Finally, the gentlemen of the Boating Club refused to be convinced. They changed the name of the Club and by doing so deserted from the field of Jewish sport.
During the past year, a great deal has been written about the foundation of a Charity Fund which is an urgent necessity in these hard times. Finally, an Inaugural Meeting was held and an Executive was elected whose task was to initiate and organize the new institution.
To our great regret nothing more has happened. The organizers began very noisily but the entire matter has gone to sleep. This is not the place to analyse the reasons for the failure. Yet, the attempt as such was distinctly praiseworthy and no harm at all will be done if it is tried again.
To finish our summing up, we must also draw attention to the great loss which the Jews of Kalish have experienced by the death of their rabbi.
Reb Ezekiel Liebshitz, of blessed memory, passed away suddenly only three months after the Community had celebrated the semijubilee of his occupation of the Rabbinical Seat in our City. His passing has given rise to considerable grief throughout the world for he was one of the most outstanding figures in contemporary Jewish life. Yet, the loss to Kalish Jewry has been particularly heavy. As long as Reb Ezekiel Liebshitz held the rabbinical office, which was a matter of twentyfive years, there were no quarrels and disputes within the community. Since his death, opinions are divided with regard to the election of his successor. Some wish to place his son, Reb Eliezer on his seat while others propose other candidates. The Kehilla wished to defer the dispute and, therefore, decided to putoff the election of the Rabbi for three years during which period there would be no rabbi in Kalish.
A little later, there was a dispute regarding the slaughterers which would assuredly not have broken out if our rabbi, of blessed memory, had remained
alive. The opposition within the Kehilla wished to bring pressure to bear in order to obtain their demands and brought slaughterers of their own to the city that began competing with those of the Kehilla. In general, there had never been such a sharp struggle between the majority and the opposition in the Kehilla as there was now and it is impossible to say how far matters may go. In any case, it is clear that this quarrel does not benefit our community at a time when the Kehilla has to handle many grave and responsible tasks.
It should also be noted that the Kehilla has taken over the registration of population which was hitherto in the hands of the Rabbinate. This was decided after the demise of the rabbi when doubts began to arise about the place where the registers should be kept. It is an innovation in Kehilla life for the registers are held by the rabbis in most of the cities of Poland.
Finally, we must record the passing of the wealthy Reb Abraham Abele Friede who was born in Kalish and lived in Cape Town, South Africa for many decades. For the past eight years he had provided lunches for the hundreds of pupils of the Talmud Torah. This was a worthy enterprise and was greatly appreciated. His passing has occasioned much grief.
As we see, the balance sheet for 5692 is not particularly happy. On the contrary, it is a grim one yet, what lies ahead seems to be grimmer. There is a spiritual and general dejection in all fields of Jewish life and at the moment, there are no signs at all of any ray of light promising us a better future.
But we are a people who have always lived by our hopes. Let us hope that this New Year will finally restore us and that the sun will shine upon us too from out of the dark and menacing clouds.
The terrible world crisis which has already been continuing for several years could be felt in particular during 5693. It is unnecessary to add that the worst sufferers here were the Jewish masses who had always lacked firm ground under their feet so that every economic crisis and shock injured them first and foremost and dragged them under the surface. But this year, there was some slight amelioration for small merchants and artisans who suffered so greatly from the heavy burden of all kinds of taxes.
The Ryczalt arrangement offered a kind of rationalization of the tax problem for it set the tax payers free from the Assessment Committee which never gave any consideration to the citizen's capacity for payment. Yet, there is no assurance that this arrangement will continue in the future as well. The economic organizations are already gathering all their forces in order to take steps to ensure that it is maintained.
The departing year was overshadowed by Hitler's barbarity which shook the world and alarmed World Jewry through the cruel persecution of German Jews. The Jews of all countries organized in United Committees in order to combat savage and evil Hitlerism. A united committee of this kind has also been established here and the leading communal workers and public figures participate in it. Its function is to provide for refugees from Germany and conduct a boycott of German goods.
Our local Jewish population was greatly concerned at the antiSemitic press. Our columns regularly report the regrettable fact that Kalish has become a centre for antiSemitic journals which are sent throughout Poland from here. This press oozes venom and infects the Polish population with a dangerous Jew hatred. It may lead to very regrettable results indeed unless effective defence measures are taken ahead of time.
During the year 5693 various public festivities were held including those of the Mizrahi, Betar, the Tailors Society and the Maccabi. This Sports society has already undergone several transformations including the union with Hakoah and the struggle regarding the blue and white flag. It is now a wellestablished society with a wide range of activities. This year, Maccabi celebrated its 20th anniversary and on this occasion dedicated its flag and inaugurated its private jetty for boating and swimming.
The TOZ society again began to be active in Kalish during the past year. It is unnecessary to explain its functions or describe what it does to the Jewish masses. These are matters of general knowledge. So it is gratifying that the local branch of TOZ has been summoned to renewed activity under the direction and supervision of wellknown and experienced communal figures.
Here, it is our duty to record the far too frequent crisis at the Talmud Torah which comes about at almost regular intervals. It is clear that this state of affairs derives from the economic crisis on the one hand and the indifference of the Kehilla on the other. No attention was paid to the situation by the Kehilla until there was a public scandal and the teachers were compelled to declare a strike and close the classrooms. The Kalisher Leben kept on sounding the alarm and at length, the Kehilla agreed to pay the Talmud Torah allocation every week thus ensuring the existence of this popular institution where more than 400 children are studying and gaining an education.
The question of the rabbinate also began to move at last and this painful problem, which caused prolonged tension, is no longer on the agenda even though we do not yet know the end of the matter. However, we can safely say that we now regard the problem as solved. Let it be said in praise of Kalish Jewry that the discussions, etc. about the rabbinate were conducted in a tranquil atmosphere, that the mood is calm and people are patiently waiting for the decision of the Rabbinical Court in this matter.
On this occasion we also mention the Artisans' Society which is doing its best to restore itself to health while continuing its regular activities. The new executive has rented more spacious premises as befits the society's prestige.
Each union and guild belonging to the Society will have a separate room for its members in the new premises. The executive is also doing its best to set up a secretariat worthy of the name that can serve the numerous members. Steps are already being taken to merge into the Society those gild and sections that have been on their own until now.
The Small Merchants' Society has a very positive balance sheet to show. Its widebranching activities can be divided into sections and subsections. First of all, it succeeded in getting rid of the danger that menaced the market travellers. The executive devoted special efforts to the protection of their lives and property and now there no longer are any disturbances at fairs and markets. The executive also succeeded in removing the brothers Larenti from the roads where they had been terrorizing the market travellers and extorting money from them. These brothers were arrested thanks to the efforts of the Society, brought to judgment and sentenced to six months imprisonment. The market travellers could breathe more easily.
The impoverishment of the Jewish masses, the steadily increasing unemployment and absence of any livelihood induced the Small Merchants' Society to hold a largescale convention of Jewish economic bodies with the participation of outstanding communal workers in order to establish an Economic Council which would remain on guard and take steps to ensure that the Small Merchants and Workers are not driven out of their economic positions, and also to struggle against the boycott of Jews by others.
This initiative is evidence of a healthy and consistent line of activity which is worthy of all blessing.
At the boundary between the old year and the new, we sadly part from the one that is departing bearing with it the whole weight of worries and concern. Yet, as we stand on the threshold of the New Year 5694, we are imbued with the ancient and constant faith in the everlastingness of Israel and with this hope, we welcome the coming year.
This year 5694 continued to be overshadowed by the general crisis experienced by the whole world which has so greatly influenced the impoverished Jewish masses. In our city, with its ‘declassed’ population where 80% of the Jewish inhabitants have been transformed from lace manufacturers to ‘merchants’, ‘businessmen’ and men who live on air, the crisis is naturally felt even more strongly. It is not surprising that the number of needy Jews applying for public help is steadily increasing.
It certainly cannot be said that our communal worthies have shown themselves indifferent towards the situation or that they have not tried to improve matters. Those who took most interest in the position of our
pauperized groups were the Small Merchants' Society which, last year, called the Jewish organizations together in order to set up an Economic Council to safeguard Jewish small merchants and craftsmen from being extruded from their economic positions and withstand the boycotting of Jews.
We very much regret that the efforts of the Society, headed by their chairman Perle, were nothing more than a voice crying in the wilderness. In spite of all their efforts, the Council has not come into being.
As remarked, Kalish Jewry suffered last year from the grave economic crisis in spite of which the Jews of the city proved their patriotic feelings when they were called upon to contribute to the National Loan. They made the greatest possible efforts and did their civic duty, responding to the call of the Government and participating in the Loan with their very last pennies.
The lion's share in the success of the National Loan campaign can be attributed to the efforts of the Kalisher Leben which ceaselessly called on the Jews to do their civic duty. We stood on watch all year round, reminding our readers each month to pay their monthly contribution. Mr. Minkowsky, the chief commissioner for the National Loan, gave particular thanks to the Kalisher Leben for the devoted and patriotic measures by which it helped to make the Loan a success.
The activities of the Linat Hatsedek Society were renewed during 5694. All its departments are now in operation for the benefit and convenience of the local Jewish population. It would appear unnecessary to list the difficulties placed in the way of this important Society's renewal of activities which called for goodwill, effortful measures and above all, the regaining of public confidence. Thanks to the dedicated and unwavering labours of the new executive, the Linat Hatsedek has regained its former position of honour and esteem in the public eye.
Last year, the TOZ Society engaged in intensive activity. Apart from the regular and systematic daytoday work in its special branches, it also carried out a largescale summer holiday programme and a hundred povertystricken and weak children were sent to summer resorts, regaining strength in a satisfactory fashion. Each child gained an average of 3 kilos.
The Municipal Elections were held during last year in accordance with the new elections system which reduced the Jewish prospects of obtaining as many representatives as they would have gained under the former proportional representation system. In addition, the election campaign among the Jews themselves had a very bad effect because it became a source of chaos such as we had never known. The inner divisions in our own society together with the new district election system had the result that the Jewish representation in the elected Town Council was reduced to a minimum.
The year 5694 registered a black page in the history of Jewish Kalish through the shameful denunciation of the Kehilla. The members of the opposition denounced the majority in the Kehilla and thereby did something that has no parallel in the history of Jewish communities throughout the world. All sections of the Jewish public rejected the denunciations whose
results were very sad. Owing to the checking and frequent examinations, the Kehilla activities were suspended and the work of the various departments was interfered with. The first victims of these irregularities were the worthy Jews who had become victims of the crisis and whom the Kehilla was unable to help.
The denunciations also unfavourably affected the implementing of the rabbinical court decision with regard to the rabbinate. It is as clear as the sun at midday that in the situation that came about there was no possibility of carrying out the decision fairly or accurately. A group of politicians and troublemakers who are always happy to engage in conflict refused to understand this fact and began a struggle against the Kehilla seeking every opportunity and excuse to impair the good standing of those who head it.
In spite of these base intrigues and the incitement behind the scenes, the Jewish public believe that the Kehilla will succeed in restoring peace for the personalities who head it hold Government offices and have gained the full confidence of our Society by their many years of public activities. This does not apply to a handful of professional politicians. The community knows that the interests of the local Jews and the safeguarding of peace can be entrusted to the present leaders.
There was darkness around, emptiness chaos, division and splitting apart while despair consumed all around. Here, in addition, came the distress of Jewry as a whole: Hitlerism, Algeria, the stopping of Aliya to Eretz Israel, other decrees in that country and many many more.
This is the situation of the Jewish people between the old and the New Year. But we are an ancient people who have withstood many hardships. O9ur faith in the eternity of Israel is not shaken and we believe with certainty that we shall outlive our enemies and all the evil and hardship. Now, as well, in preparing for the New Year 5695, we are imbued with absolute faith in the bright future of the Jewish People.
It is very difficult to try to sum up Jewish life in this country and particularly in our City with our joys and sorrows, struggles and battles, hopes and disappointments which can all be included in the one significant word: Chaos!
This year is engraved particularly deeply in our memory on account of the unbearable economic crisis on the one hand and the backwardness and spiritual distortion on the other. But, nevertheless, it has also given rise to several bright spots for the despairing Jewish masses.
Mention should be made first and foremost of the Small Merchants' Society which engages in lively and constructive activities for the benefit of its 800
members and intercedes with the government regarding the disturbances against Jews at the Poznan and other fairs. Its Gemilut Hassadim Fund plays an important part and has saved hundreds of families of small traders from absolute collapse. During the coming year this society is planning to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its fruitful existence. This will be a true festival not only for the society and its members but also for the Jewish community as a whole.
The foundation of a branch of ORT marks a special chapter in our history. It is unnecessary to waste words on the importance of ORT whose function is to spread the knowledge of handicrafts and agriculture among Jews. Yet, we have to note that certain members of the executive wish to give this institution a party colour. Now this is an absolutely incorrect approach since the ORT Society in our town must remain just what it is everywhere else; a broadlybased people's movement and not a market for party bosses. We believe, however, that the ORT leaders, who are well aware how important their objectives are, will take steps to build the Society on a lasting and healthy foundation.
Let us also mention the Linat Hatsedek Society which functions very effectively. We can only hope that it will continue to operate properly with all its important and useful departments for the good of the general Jewish population here and without distinction between classes and currents.
Last year, the Jewish population took an active part in connection with the National Loan bearing 3% interest which was proclaimed by the government and very widely publicized in our columns.
A deep and sorrowful impression was left by the death of Marshal Pilsudski who was so greatly beloved by the entire population of the Polish Republic. News of his death cast a heavy cloud over the citizens and gave rise to deep sorrow among the Jewish population which found its expression in our pages. We gave fitting expression to the downcast mood of the Jewish population here and to our deep grief at his death.
During the year that has just ended, elections were held for the Seim. These did not arise much interest among the Jewish population because no Jewish candidate was presented in our electoral zones. In spite of this, there were several shortsighted leaders of Jewish parties who did not join the Kehilla's Election Committee for reasons of personal prestige, but opened separate ‘shops’ of their own.
There was a certain development in the painful questions of the rabbinate which has made the differences in our community so much more acute on account of the attitude of certain party fanatics. Yet, as remarked, there has been some progress and it may be hoped that this painful question will be settled in the near future to the satisfaction of the entire Jewish Community here.
At this moment, when the parting year bids farewell and the new one begins, we stand full of hope and expectation for better times and wish to believe that all that is bad and corrupt will vanish with the departing days and be forgotten. Hoping for a better morrow which must finally come, we
welcome the New Year with the old and new cry: May the year with all its curses end while a year beings with all its blessings!
The year 5696 has been a difficult and bitter one for Polish Jewry. It was a year of harsh experiences and sad developments, economic decrees, antiJewish disturbances and bloodthirsty riots. All of these, besides the savage antiSemitic incitement, unbridled as it was, and the acute economic boycott, have exerted a bad influence on the three and a half million Jews of the country and have given rise to a mood of despair and helplessness. The heaviest blow was the antiShehita decree which deprived masses of Jews of their livelihood and all of them of the possibility of eating kosher meat.
The savage boycott which aims at depriving the Jews of a living was felt in our city in particular. Here, hundreds of Jewish families made their living exclusively at fairs and markets in the vicinity of Poznan. The unchecked incitement carried out there by the local antiSemites deprived them of every possibility of continuing to attend these fairs since the Poles robbed them of their property and beat them murderously.
In order to deliver those Jews from inevitable catastrophe, a delegation from the Small Merchants' Society of Kalish appeared before General SlawoiSkladkowski, Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior and described the terrible situation of these market men who are doomed to starvation on account of this venomous animosity towards the Jews. This appeal had a good effect. The Prime Minister promptly published urgent orders which enabled the Jews to maintain their economic positions and continue to attend the Poznan Fairs.
This delegation which, incidentally, was the first Jewish body to appear before the Prime Minister, also achieved the result that the local markets would not be placed outside the city. The Prime Minister issued suitable orders on this matter too and they were transmitted to the relevant institutions. Thanks to this, a thousand families of market peddlers in our city were saved since their livelihood was in danger on account of the paving of the New Market.
Last year, the Society also engaged in several festivities. These were the installation of the flag, the 10th anniversary and the completion of the writing of its own Torah Scroll. These festivities were very successful. Here as well we had an opportunity of seeing the manysided activity and productive effects of a purely economic organization on every branch of communal life.
This year saw the 1st anniversary of the passing of Marshal Pilsudski who is mourned by the entire population and in particular by the Jews for we can feel the great loss and the change in the attitude towards us that has recently come about in the country. And so the Jews mark the anniversary with true grief and sorrow.
This year there was a general meeting of the Gemilut Hassadim Society which has already completed 10 years of activities on behalf of the Jewish population. It is the duty of every Jew to support this Fund in order that it should be able to respond to all those who apply to it requesting a loan.
Here we must also mention the Annual General Meeting of the Cooperative Discount Bank which was schemed against this year by several individuals who wished plain and simple, to smash this important Credit Institution. Yet, in spite of all these attacks, common sense prevailed and the victory found expression in the fact that the general public and the members declared their full confidence in the present management which has achieved so much.
Mention must also be made here of the heavy loss which the Jewish Gymnasium sustained by the death of its Director, Samuel Helling who was one of its founders and builders. We are consoled by the fact that he has been worthily replaced by Dr. Moshe Freilich, the wellknown pedagogue and educational worker who is the right man for this responsible post.
Mention should also be made of the Linat Hatsedek Society whose departments for pharmacy, dispensary and nocturnal firstaid service play such an important and useful part for our Jewish population. This is an institution which has to be supported by the entire Jewish public.
As in the other towns of Poland, the year left us something by which to remember it. This was the Kehilla Election which, to our regret, so clearly displayed the great disunity among the local Jews. There were 17 lists competing in the elections whereas in 1931, namely five years ago, there were 8 lists only. The only positive achievement of these elections is the representation of the Small Merchants' Society and the Artisans' Society on the Kehilla Council.
The newly elected Kehilla representatives are now called upon to elect the Kehilla Chairman according to something more than purely party considerations. If we really want the Kehilla to be headed by a man of good will who is prepared to take positive action on behalf of the Jewish masses, let us not elect a tailor's dummy but a man with a sensitive Jewish heart who is known to us thanks to his many years of activity and his readiness to sacrifice himself for the sake of the people.
If the Kehilla representatives understand this, if levelheadedness is stronger than the shortsighted instructions of the parties, we shall see a sensible policy which is the fruit of a successful and cautious appraisal of the situation. That would be a pleasant parting gift of the year that is leaving us.
Standing as we do at the crossway between the old year as it withdraws and the New Year as it approaches, it is our fervent aspiration that all the distress and suffering which have descended on the Jewish people from every side may at last come to an end. May we see the fulfilment of the verse: And may all the wickedness vanish like smoke. Filled with a firm and unshakeable faith in the divine promise of a radiant future for the People of Israel, we take leave of the departing year while, at the same time, welcoming the New Year of 5697.
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.
Kalisz, Poland Yizkor Book Project JewishGen Home Page
Copyright © 1999-2023 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 27 May 2016 by JH