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PPS (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna)

PPS (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna)

PPS (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna ), Polish Socialist Party. Founded in Paris in 1892, the pps began activities in Poland despite Russian political restrictions. While in Galicia, then under Austrian control, the movement formed a legally recognized popular party, the ppsd (Polish Socialist Democrat Party). In Congress Poland, as a result of czarist oppression, the pps became an underground movement. The pps also was in conflict with the general Social Democratic movement in Poland and Lithuania, which on cosmopolitan principles opposed the nationalist tendency among the leaders of the pps. During World War i the right wing of the pps organized its own military units (the "legions") to act for the liberation of Poland. With the attainment of Polish independence, the pps organized a national convention in April 1919 which brought about the establishment of the party throughout the country.

From the outset many Jews were active in the pps. However, in the wake of ideological conflicts during and after the war a considerable number of Jewish activists left the party to join the extreme left. Three Jews became prominent in the party in the interwar years: (1) Feliks Perl (1871–1927), a native of Warsaw, who influenced the program of the united movement by his adherence to the party's socialist views as opposed to its rightist nationalist tendencies; (2) Herman *Diamand (1860–1931) of Lvov, lawyer and economist, who was a pps member in the Austrian parliament between 1907 and 1914, and the party's economic expert in the Polish *Sejm (parliament); and (3) Herman *Lieberman (1870–1941), lawyer, journalist and outstanding speaker, member of the Austrian parliament and the Polish Sejm, and later (1940) minister of justice in the Polish government-in-exile in London. All three considered that the solution to the Jewish problem lay in Polish patriotism and eventual assimilation; they were opposed to the principles of Zionism and the efforts of Jewish leaders to preserve Jewish cultural identity.

The pps made efforts to approach the mass of Jewish workers through Yiddish publications. It tended to regard the Jewish socialist parties, such as the *Bund and the leftist Po'alei *Zion, as potential competitors for voters, accusing them of separatism and nationalism. In its attitude to actual discrimination against Jews, the pps showed a willingness to assist them in principle. However it was cautious in the extent of its support so as not to be suspected of "serving Jewish interests." In the trade unions the pps showed a tendency to make difficulties in the admission of Jewish workers to industrial enterprises, even where the owners themselves were Jews.

It was only in the late 1930s that the pps showed more courage in the struggle against antisemitism, then being overtly exploited by the reactionary successors of *Pilsudski, as a means of hitting at the opposition.

bibliography:

I. Schiper et al. (eds.), Żydzi w Polsce odrodzonej, 1 (1932), 531–41; add. bibliography: J.M. Majchrowski et al., Kto byl kim wdrugiej Rzeczypospolitej (1994), (F. Perl) No. 1045, (H. Diamand) No. 251, (H. Lieberman) No. 769; C. Kozlowski, Zarys Dziejow Polskiego Ruchu Robotniczego do 1948 roku (1980), index; J. Holzer, Mozaika poliyczna drugiej Rzeczypospolitej (1974), 207–22, 481–510; J. Zarnowski, "pps w latach 1935–1939," in: Najnowsze Dzieje Polski iii, 93–160; idem, Polska Partia Socjalistyczna 1935–1939 (1965).

[Moshe Landau]

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