Our Slavic Fellow Citizens - 1910

Slovak Emigration
Chapter VI

Indebtedness

As to financial exploitation, the local reputation of the Jews seems to vary with the credit situation. Where credit institutions have been established, lending money at 5* or 6 per cent instead of at the Jewish rate of 8 or 12 per cent or more, the Jews are often respected and not disliked; but in too many places, where the simple, drink-loving peasants are wholly at their mercy, the Jews are accused of getting them into debt, often through tavern bills.

There is especial complaint of the way they contrive to get control of the woods, which are the only valuable asset of the region, and which are being recklessly cut down by speculators. On these steep chalky hillsides this means destruction of the soil, floods and general disaster. Where there has been a movement to America, the peasants, educated by experience, are said to know how to keep out of the hands of designing individuals.

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