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Samuel Commission


SAMUEL COMMISSION , inquiry commission sent in 1919 by the British government to Poland to examine the causes of antisemitic tension and disturbances which had aroused sharp criticism in the West. The Commission arrived after the *Morgenthau Commission had already completed its inquiries there and remained in Poland from September until December 1919. Sir Stuart Samuel, who headed the Commission, was president of the *Board of Deputies of British Jews between 1917 and 1922 (he was a brother of Herbert *Samuel). Also prominent on the Commission was Capt. Peter Wright, who had been influenced by the preconceived ideas prevalent in Poland concerning Jews.

The Commission visited many areas, especially those with evenly mixed populations, such as eastern *Galicia, and gathered reliable testimonies on recent incidents of violence. Meetings were held with the Polish premier I. Paderewski and government ministers. At the conclusion of their journey, Samuel and Wright did not share the same opinions, and the subsequent published report comprised Samuel's account only, a fact which weakened its influence on public opinion. In an effort to ameliorate the tensions between Poles and Jews, Samuel advanced the following 12 proposals:

(1) Implementation of the clauses of the agreement concerning rights of Jewish citizens in Poland

(2) The practice of true equality

(3) Prosecution of criminal acts to persons or property committed out of motives of racism or religious bigotry

(4) Restoration of Jewish civil servants in Galicia to their former posts

(5) Restoration of Jewish railway workers to their positions throughout Poland

(6) Abolition of the *numerus clausus for Jewish university students

(7) Prohibition of discriminatory trade practices

(8) Immediate judicial examination of all those being held in detention camps

(9) Facilitation of the founding of new industries

(10) The guarantee of British government aid in Jewish migration overseas (to Palestine, Canada, South Africa, etc.)

(11) Aid for the establishment of banks in which the Jewish public would have confidence

(12) Attachment of a Yiddish-speaking secretary to the British embassy in Warsaw

Samuel himself intended to establish a bakelite factory in Poland to employ thousands of Jewish workers, but the government disapproved when he requested that Jewish workers be allowed to work on Sunday instead of Saturday. His book, Mission to Poland, was published in 1920.


H.M. Rabinowicz, Legacy of Polish Jewry (1965), 41–44. add. bibliography: S. Samuel, "Report on a Mission to Poland," in: Bulletin du Comité des Délégation Juives, No. 16 (Aug. 18, 1920).

[Moshe Landau]

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