Dziennik Chicagoski -- July 06, 1892Our "Theater" by Nie-Omega
How little love the Poles living in America have for dramatic art is indicated by the rarity with which amateur theatricals are presented. Considering the fact that there are a hundred thousand Poles in Chicago, we ought to have a permanent professional theater, one that would produce educational plays, cultivate aesthetic judgment, influence the morals of the people, spread the glory of Poland, maintain the Polish language [on this foreign soil], and awaken the apathetic to our national aims. As yet, we have no such theater and we may never have one, for, somehow, we are not sufficiently interested.
When an educational society decides to produce an amateur play which may be interesting, moral, educational, and often patriotic, only those who attempt 2it know how much advertisement and encouragement is necessary to attract a sufficiently large audience. But on the other hand, when some Jewish corporation opens a new saloon in our community, introducing immoral and offensive ditties, it needs no advertising and no publicity in the newspapers to draw in the public--especially our youth. At first, we purposely avoided mentioning the opening of this particular den of iniquity, but now, when its evils have passed all bounds of decency, continued silence on our part would render us culpable.
The local laws permit many things which we Poles should and do regard as wrong. Legally, we can do nothing [to close this Jewish-owned saloon], but should it not be our sacred duty to avoid such places by a hundred feet, so as not to defile our ears....? We do not wish to accuse our youth of evil tendencies; we place the blame upon their inexperience. Unfortunately, however, their elders, too, are at fault. If it were only such people as might be called ignorant, [there would be some excuse, perhaps], but we have seen people who 3are heads of Polish organizations, people who should set the right example, who should not err in matters such as this, applauding, together with twenty-year-old youngsters, such things upon which any decent man would spit. As long as the evil confined itself to Polish-owned saloons, to immoral songs, and only to certain Polish people, it pained us, but we kept silent; today, however, when these Jews have dared to profane our national hymns and have even been encouraged in this by Poles, we must cry: "Shame!" Shame, not only on those engaged in this profanation, but also on those whose ears do not swell upon hearing it.
How can we, who pride ourselves on our patriotism and our religion, permit such hymns as "Boze Cos Polske" [God Save Poland] and "Z Dymen Pozarow" [With the Smoke of the Conflagration] to be played in a saloon to the accompaniment of clinking whisky glasses and wild antics of prostitutes? Is this our vaunted patriotism? Shall we permit portraits of such national heroes as Kosciusko and Pulaski, who should be held in the highest reverence, 4to be displayed in saloon windows to attract the innocents?
Is this our conception of honor?
We, who usually listen to our national hymns while standing humbly with our hats removed, or while kneeling, now applaud them in a Jewish saloon, thoughtlessly and half-drunk! Shame to our young men, and greater shame to their elders who have lost all feeling for national ethics and who abuse patriotism for the sake of the dollar!
Not only our religion is profaned--our very nationalism is scorned and trod upon. Those who do not believe in God but who say they are Poles, should realize that by frequenting this place, they are insulting the Polish people in general! As a matter of fact, if the Poles avoided the place, its Jewish owners would find other means of attracting customers. They can play what songs they please, of course, but we ought not listen, much less pay for it.5
Let no one justify himself by saying that he merely stepped in for a glass of beer, for there are many Polish saloons in the vicinity where good beer may be had. Nor can that which ought to offend us be called amusement.
Is this to be our theater? Is this to be our place of recreation, relaxation, and moral instruction? It were best had it never appeared among us!
I C, I B 1, II B 1 c 1
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