Warsaw (Jul. 20)
(By Our Warsaw Correspondent)
The citizenship status of ten thousand persons, nearly all of them Jews, who have been residents in Poland for years but have not hitherto been admitted to citizenship despite all efforts, will be determined definitely before the conclusion of this year, as a result of the order issued by the Minister of Interior, Mlodzianowski, to all the Wojewods, governors of the Polish states.
The order of the Minister of Interior is regarded here as important not only for its text but for its tone as well. It is seen as an indication of an effort to solve a sore problem of long standing in a constructive manner.
Pointing out in its introductory remarks that although Poland has been an independent state for eight years, the status of tens of thousands of residents has remained undefined, and that the solution of this problem is in the interests not only of the individuals concerned but of the whole country as well, the order sets down a number of rules for the government officials, instructing them to employ every effort to assist the applicants to acquire Polish citizenship.
The new order, No. 69, is based on order No. 72 of 1924, wherein the regulations and requirements regarding Polish citizenship were defined. The five categories described in the order of 1924 are now, however, considerably extended and broadened.
The first category of eligibles to citizenship includes persons who, after January 31. 1920, served in the Polish army through draft or as volunteers, provided it is established that they were not deserters later and that they made no effort to secure exemption. The same class includes those who were in active military service before January 31, 1920, if they were later transferred to the reserves. Also persons who were temporarily exempted but later were inducted into active service, regardless of whether this occurred before or after January 31. 1920.
Provision is also made in the order for these persons who were born on Polish territory but were registered as residents of a Russian town or city. The procedure required for the obtaining of the citizenship status by such persons differs from that which applies to “aliens.” All that is necessary is to prove that such an individual was actually horn on Polish territory, that he is living in Poland and that no crime was committed by him at any time.
The order finally deals with those who are outright “aliens.” These too are eligible to citizenship, provided they lived prior to the world war in Polish territory and were loyal to Poland. Their temporary departure from Poland because of the war conditions is not to be regarded as an objection since it was not their fault.
A special privilege is extended to those Polish citizens who are not in a position to prove their status owing to the destruction of official records during the war. Such citizens can acquire their citizenship status through the testimony of two reliable witnesses.
The references in the order relating to the citizenship of city and town dwellers is of especial interest to the Jews who are in the urban category. The order points out that Polish citizens are: Persons who belong to the local population and did not emigrate during the war to Russia.