The Academic Union All-Polish Youth
An organization uniting Polish nationalistic youth, the Academic Union All-Polish Youth functioned in Lviv university environment. The organization was founded in Warsaw in March 1922. Its honourable chairman was elected Roman Dmowski. From that time on, the All-Polish Youth began to quickly get supporters, actively working in the entire territory of the republic. The organization had a simple structure: in each academic center, there was a section of the All-Polish Youth, which united students of all educational institutions of the city. Every new member who joined the organization was awarded a special distinction — the so-called "Sword of the Brave" worn on the jacket lapel.
In Lviv, the All-Polish Youth was the city’s largest student organization, which pursued its activities not only at the Jan Kazimierz University, but also at Lviv Polytechnic, at the Academy of Veterinary Medicine and at the Higher School of Foreign Trade.
Among the main issues Lviv's All-Polish Youth addressed there was, for example, the issue of "the struggle for the Catholic state of Polish people," as well as the solution of the "Jewish question". Among the postulates the organization spread in its propaganda leaflets there were, for example, "the full acquisition of the Eastern Territories for the Poles" and "the withdrawal of Jews beyond the bounds of Polish life." Throughout the country, they warned against the "danger of Jews occupying positions in administration and science." The society also negatively addressed all Ukrainian movements, which were recognized as "instruments of German policy". The organization opposed all leftist currents, those socialist and communist, considering them a threat to the independence of the country. The propaganda leaflets warned that communist governments would suppress workers and peasants. There were attempts to gain support among these social strata. In fact, the society treated the rural environment and populist students with great unwillingness. This was evidenced, for example, by the fact that some young country-dwellers were beaten during the celebration of the Independence Day in November 1937. In February 1939, the organization members attacked those attending the lectures of Dr. Szczotka organized by rural youth at the Jan Kazimierz University. In general, the All-Polish Youth maintained friendly relations with Catholic associations and organizations like the Marian Student Brotherhood (pol. Sodalicja Mariańska Akademików), except the Odrodzenie which the society conflicted with. One of the leading figures of the All-Polish Youth was Witold Nowosad who headed Lviv's Marian Student Brotherhood.
In the 1930s, the members of the society held leading positions in the boards of many important organizations operating in the educational institution. In 1927-1928, the "All-Poles" gained influence in the Society of Brotherly Aid for the Students of the Jan Kazimierz University. The seizure of the Society’s board and the policy carried on by the "All-Poles" in the late 1930s led to the emergence of the Independent Brotherly Aid at the University.
In the 1930s, the circles associated with the All-Polish Youth organized the "Green Ribbon" campaign, aimed at discouraging passers-by to buy goods in Jewish shops. Also, an action was initiated against the government’s projects of a new legislation on higher education (the so-called “Jędrzejewicz reform” of 1933). Among other goals of the All-Polish Youth was an attempt to "nationalize" the school, thus depriving Jewish youth of any opportunity to study in high schools. These attempts were the result of the numerus clausus slogans (relating to the limitation of the number of Jewish students at the Jan Kazimierz University), which were advanced in the early 1920s. The nationalist circles also contributed to the spread of a campaign for the introduction of the so-called “bench ghetto”. The supporters and members of the All-Polish Youth were displeased with professors who opposed anti-Semitic slogans (for example, Ryszard Ganszyńc and Stanisław Kulczyński).
Among those who took part in the activities of the All-Polish Youth in Lviv, Jan Matłachowski, Alfred Skubijewski, Adam Treszka, Czesław Rojek and Józef Narożański are worth to be mentioned.
In 1936, the organization consisted of 497 members. Its premises were located on Lozińskiego (now Hertsena) street 7, in the building of the Polish Academic House.
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Written by Ewa Bukowska-Marczak
Scientific editing by Vasyl Rasevych
Translated from Polish by Myroslava Kit
Translated from Ukrainian by Andriy Maslyukh