Commons, Debating Army Bill, Hears Demand for Large Jewish Force

The raising of a large Jewish army to fight for the Allies was urged by R.D. Denman, National Labor M.P., during debate in the House of Commons today on the Armed Forces bill.

The bill was also the target of criticism by Col. Josiah Wedgwood, Laborite M.P., who objected to the exclusion of Jews as a unit in the other Allied armies and to their being prevented from forming armies here.

“It is becoming obvious to the people of America and Germany that we are not treating the Jews, who have the greatest cause to fight Hitler, on the same footing as other nationals,” he said.

Col. Wedgwood insisted that before the bill is passed the Government obtain assurances from the Poles that they would not use their powers to force a large number of Jews “who had learned from bitter experience what it was to be under the Polish or Nazi Regime,” into the army as the only escape from internment.

Sir Edward Grigg, War Undersecretary, replied that the Jews did not have a military system and that therefore Jews offering to play a part in the war must do so in some other military organization.

Sir Edward expressed the utmost sympathy for the Jews who desired to aid in winning the war. The Jews can render valuable help but only as units of other national forces, he said.

With regard to the Polish Army, Sir Edward said the British Government had no reason but to commend Polish Premier Wladyslaw Sikorski’s instructions that all soldiers be treated as Poles regardless of their origin or religion. According to the semi-official newspaper Dziennik Polski the authorities were watching the situation closely to see to it that this order is observed.

Anti-Semitic manifestations by the Polish Army here have created considerable resentment and concern among Polish Jews. Those Polish Jews subject to conscription are at present seeking to enroll in the British armed forces instead of the Polish as a result of this trend.

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