Relations between Poland and Germany and Their Impact on the Jewish Problem in Poland 1935-1938
In 1934 Germany and Poland signed a ten-year non-aggression pact. The German minority in Poland was, in general, economically powerful, supported the rising tide of Fascism in their mother country, encouraged antisemitism and even set up underground espionage cells. The Jews and the Jewish press failed to react with sufficient opposition to these developments. Polish pro-Germans were antisemites and opposed assimilation of Jews. Most Poles however feared Germany, which preached expulsion of Jews from Germany and neighboring countries. Antisemitism flourished in Nazi Germany and rekindled this latent trait among the Poles. From 1938 Polish policy towards Germany vacillated considerably. Concurrently negotiations between the two countries proceeded regarding transfer of Polish citizens (mainly Jews) to Germany and visa versa. Tens of thousands of Jews were forcibly expelled from Germany to Poland and, all in all, were reasonably well received by Polish border officials, except at the Zbaszyn camp. In June 1939 there were still 16,000 Jews, banished from Germany, in Poland. In conclusion, it is regrettable that the various Jewish organizations did not bind into a single, powerful Jewish representative body, capable of demanding state aid for Polish Jewish citizens in Poland or abroad. The Polish authorities used the Jewish problem as a political tool against the Germans.