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Russia Asks Lithuania to Oust All Refugees Deemed ‘harmful’ to Her Interests

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Russia has brought pressure against Lithuania to expel all refugees considered “harmful” to Soviet interests, it was learned today from official reports reaching the Polish Government-in-exile.

A special commission from Moscow has arrived at Kaunas and has presented the Lithuanian Government with the following demands:

(1) Preparation for the Soviet authorities of a complete list of all refugees from Poland who are not Lithuanian citizens; (2) a ban on residence of Polish refugees in sections of Lithuania where Soviet military forces are stationed; (3) expulsion of all Polish refugees and other immigrants who might be considered harmful to Soviet interests.

Many Jewish refugees known to be unfriendly to the Soviets, particularly Socialists, will be affected by the last-named demand, with which Lithuania will be forced to comply.

The position of these Jewish refugees is precarious, since they are sandwiched between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia and, if expelled, would have nowhere to go because Latvia, third country bordering Lithuania and also under Soviet domination, is determined not to admit any refugees from Lithuanian soil.

Foreseeing trouble for many of the refugees, the Lithuanian Government has appealed to the governments of the United States, Sweden, Denmark and Norway to accept some of the thousands of exiles now in Lithuania. (According to a Kaunas dispatch yesterday, the Scandinavian countries have turned down the request, explaining they were preoccupied with the problem of caring for Finnish refugees.)

Forty Jewish journalists and writers who escaped from Poland to Lithuania, mean while, have appealed to the HIAS-ICA Emigration Association here to arrange emigration facilities for them to such countries as Palestine, France, England, the United States and Latin American nations. The appeal expresses the hope that Jewish newspapers and publications abroad will take an interest in their fate, since all are bona fide journalists whose works have been featured in American, Argentinian, and South African Yiddish newspapers.

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