Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Jr. on reactions towards a proposed bill gradually limiting ritual slaughter in Poland in 1939

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“I have the honor to refer to paragraph 1, section c, of my telegram No. 39, March 29, 1938, 5 p.m., regarding a proposed bill to limit ritual slaughter in Poland and to report that a new bill calling for a gradual diminution of ritual slaughter over the next three years has just passed the Committee of the Sejm and awaits presentation to that body as a whole. […]

In discussing with the leaders of various Jewish groups their reactions, I gained the impression that it is mainly the orthodox, and even amongst their number the more strictly religious, who, from a religious angle are seriously concerned over the prospect of eventually doing away with ritual slaughter. Others, such as the Zionists, and the Zionist Revisionists, and particularly the youth thereof, are less concerned by the bill’s potential effect on ritual slaughter than by the prospect of the bill’s presaging further anti-Semitic measures. One prominent member of the Zionist Revisionist inner circles imparted his opinion that the bill was aimed mainly as propaganda to force the Jews of all categories in Poland to unite in support of the Government search for a solution of the Jewish problem, mainly in terms of emigration. […]

My own observation led me to believe that contributing to the bill’s proposal there are the following military and social aspects: military, in that the Army’s long-range program envisages the eventual centralization of meat control and refrigeration to meet emergency periods; and socially, in that the racial Polish peasant wants to replace the Jew in the meat business. As to the prospects of the bill’s amendment, this, in my opinion, will depend largely upon the Government’s attitude in general towards the Jewish question. At the moment, I do not look for the bill to be rejected.”

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