Detroit Mich (Nov. 16)
General Joseph Haller, on a visit in Detroit, issued a statement this morning in which he denied responsibility for pogroms in Poland. General Haller’s statement follows:
“It has come to my attention that erroneous statements have been circulated throughout the United States to the effect that I conducted a campaign of persecution against the Jewish people in Poland since the armistice. I deny these charges categorically.######“At no time have I issued edicts, official or unofficial, by sign, word of mouth or intimation, that the Jewish people should be treated differently from other nationalities residing in Poland. I have sat side by side with Jewish people in the Polish parliament. During the time that these alleged persecutions were said to have taken place I was in France with my army”.
The American Legion representative travelling with General Haller and serving as publicity agent and manager, speaking in the name of the Polish general, told Jewish newspapermen and the representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it would be impossible for them to interview Haller. A two hour interview with Jewish representatives of the press convinced the General the futility of such an interview, he said. This publicity man asked that his name be kept from the reports, and at the same time stated that whatever he said was to be taken as a statement direct from Haller.
In the name of Haller, this publicity man admitted that Jewish beards were cut by the general’s soldiers, but that, he said, was done for “sanitary purposes”, because Jews had “lice, not only in their hair but also in their beards” The typhus epidemic raging at the time was given as the reason.
General Haller’s statement in denial of the pogroms was made here as the Polish party was starting out for a visit of the Ford Motor Co. plant as the guests of Henry Ford, who later intimated that he was to build an automobile factory in Poland.
General Haller’s main point of defense was that it was a “physical impossibility”, for him to participate in the pogroms because he was in France at the time they occurred. His spokesman quoted liberally from Henry Morgenthau’s report in denying any outbreaks against Jews in Poland, and the cutting of Jewish beards was the only admission made.