Polish, Czech Leaders Plan Proclamation of Jews’ Equality; Talks Open This Week
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Polish, Czech Leaders Plan Proclamation of Jews’ Equality; Talks Open This Week

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Steps to wipe out anti-Jewish legislation in Poland and former Czechoslovakia will shortly be undertaken by the exiled leaders of those two conquered nations, it was learned today. Negotiations toward that end, looking forward to the collapse of the Nazi regimes in the two countries, will be initiated this week among Jewish groups, ex-President Eduard Benes of Czechoslovakia and Premier Wladislaw Sikorski of the Polish Government in exile.

The conferences are expected to be climaxed by issuance of special decrees both by Premier Sikorski and Dr. Benes ordering restoration of complete equality of rights for Jews when their countries regain their independence.

Meanwhile, Premier Sikorski went on the air last night with an address assuring “justice to all sons of Poland without distinction” as to race or religion. At the same time, a manifesto proclaiming equality of rights for all irrespective of origin or faith was issued by Dr. Stefan Osusky, Czech Ambassador to Paris.

One of the purposes of Dr. Benes’ presence in Paris, it was learned, is to negotiate for the creation of a cabinet in exile similar to that recently set up by the Poles. Recognition of the Cabinet would be sought from all those governments which refused to acknowledge Germany’s occupation of Czechoslovakia.

One of Dr. Benes’ first steps upon creation of such a Government, this correspondent was informed, will be the issuance of a decree invalidation all the anti-Jewish laws introduced in the protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia since the German occupation.

The first step in this direction was taken by Dr. Osusky in his manifesto, which constituted a call to all Czech citizens to join the Czech army now in process of formation in France. Emphasizing the principle of equality for all Czech citizens, Dr. Osusky declared: “Every citizen is obliged to remain loyal to the Czechoslovak Republic and to serve her. Everybody without distinction has the same duties, but also the same rights. Everybody is equal before the law. Thus, no discrimination shall prevail among our citizens. We shall not allow racial origin, nationality, religious or political belief to be held against anybody.”

Similar references to equality are contained in a manifesto under preparation by the Sikorski Government. The manifesto, designed for distribution to Poles throughout the world, will contain several paragraphs declaring that all citizens of Poland are equal irrespective of race, nationality or religion.

Meanwhile, a delegation representing the Federation of Polish Jews in France was received in the office of Wladyslaw Raczkiewics, Poland’s new President. The delegation submitted a declaration of greetings and of Polish Jewry’s loyalty to the new Polish Government.

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