Re: Jews in Eastern Galicia before the outbreak of WWII -- review of stastistical data #galicia


Peter Jassem <jassep@...>
 

Alexander Sharon wrote on the Statistical Data in Galicia on Jan. 8, 2001.
Here is my response.

Dear Alex, I admire your passion for research and for sharing your findings
with all of us. Your text is very informative and valuable. But since you
encourage us "to engage you into discussion concerning number of Jews in
Galicia before the outbreak of WWII" I will make few comments.

You wrote:
I would be surprised if data published by Polish statisticians for years
1921 and 1931 was not politically manipulated by the authorities. Poland has
acquired Eastern Galicia (and part of Vilna, Lithuania territory)
as the result of the military aggression against weaker neighbors. Poles
substituted for minorities in some of those territories.<

All scholarly works rely on these statiscics. I have consulted a University
of Toronto professor specializing in Jewish studies and he confirmed that
the statistics could be trusted. Also, I would not fully agree with the
statement that "Poland has acquired Eastern Galicia as the result of the
military aggression against weaker neighbors." I'd rather say that Poland
used military means to restore its legitimate multi-ethnic country
established as a voluntary union on July 1, 1569. Subsequently the country
was taken apart following thre partitions by Russia, Prussia and Austria in
1772, 1793 and 1795. In the meantime the Ukrainian national consciousnes
had strenghtened and the 1918 efforts of Marshall Pilsudski to restore the
country were opposed by (perhaps most of) the ethnic Ukrainians. While you
may be right that "Poles substituted for minorities in some of those
territories" it has to be noted that in some other areas, notably the city
of Lw=F3w and Lw=F3w area, the Poles were in clear majority. Pilsudski had=
a
vision of multi-ethnic, large and strong Poland, which would withstand
aggressive tendencies of her neighbours. Unfortunately subsequent
goverments failed to implement fair ethnic policies or make the country a
leading military power.=20

You Wrote:
It is obvious that Jews that did not declare their mother tongue as
Hebrew/Yiddish were categorized as Poles by nationality. Population of Jews
in Eastern Galicia and subsequently in all prewar Poland in my opinion,
should be larger that quoted by sources as 10% of the total population of
Poland. This would also increase the number of Holocaust victims.<

I don't have the censuses at hand. I will have proper resources soon and
may comment further, but at this point I have two comments. =20
1. There were two censuses: 1921 and 1931. Each asked different questions.
One asked about religious and ethnic affiliation and the other about
religious affiliation and primary language or mother tongue. I am not sure
which was which but the language one resulted in 300,000 difference between
Yiddish/Hebrew speakers and Mosaic faith followers. It should be also noted
that practically nobody spoke Hebrew. The Hebrew numbers were inflated and
statements were ideologically motivated. But since the numbers were
combined with Yiddish it had no influence on final results.
2. Again, I believe there is no reason to distrust the 10% count of Jews in
Poland.

You wrote:
1931 statistics display that in Galicia amount of Jews that declared their
mother tongue as Yiddish or Hebrew was smaller than in other Provinces.<

True, except you shouldn't have included Krakow City and Krakow Province in
the non-Galician column of statistics in this paragraph.

I'll be happy to send more comments when I get to the proper resources in
several days.

Thanks,

Peter

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