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Poles shun regime's image polishing

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Poland's Roman Catholics and Jews have been joining in extensive observances of the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. But their joint remembrance of that event in World War II is not sufficient to bridge the political gulf between government and the people that is the biggest and most intractable problem in Poland's current crisis.

To many Poles it appears that their government, which they do not like, is seeking political mileage from this anniversary. They suspect the lavish support afforded the current observance is intended to improve the regime's standing in world opinion.

Thus not even all of the few survivors of the uprising who are still living in Poland are joining in. (Before the war, Poland was home to 31/2 million Jews; today the Jewish community in Poland numbers some 15,000.)

Dr. Marek Edleman, one of those survivors, is a well-known figure who supported Solidarity and openly opposed martial law. He has described the observances as ''manipulated celebrations'' and declined to take part.

The official program continues through the end of the month, but the ''opposition'' plans to conduct an independent observance of April 1943 this coming weekend.

Meanwhile, the bitter divisions among the Polish people persist and the country remains still crippled by an economic situation that shows no sign of meaningful improvement four months after the most repressive features of martial law were removed.

Officials have been taking some comfort at 1983's first modest signs of an upturn in some areas of the economy. But the gravity of the outlook has just been exposed by the government's consultative economic council.

An equally gloomy view - based on the council's latest report - appeared in the authoritative economic weekly, Zycie Gospodarcze, whose editor is a member of the Communist Party Politburo.

It went straight to the heart of the Polish problem - focusing on the difficulties that amount to a standstill in carrying out the economic reform.

The reform is modest enough when compared, for instance, with Hungary's. But in the context of Poland's embittered politics it seems impossible to establish a viable starting point.

According to these two assessments, there still are no clear trends in industry toward more efficient management - which is basic to any reform - and no visible response to the more flexible system of financing, which requires enterprises to demonstrate greater efficiency before they qualify for fresh credit.


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