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Polish Government Denies Discrimination Against Jewish Refugees in Relief Distribution

The Polish Telegraphic Agency today carries an authorized statement denying the reports that anti-Jewish discrimination is practiced by Polish relief officials in Russia.

The charges that such discrimination exists were made by Jewish leaders from Poland now in Palestine on the basis of information which reached them from Russia. It was admitted in a report from Polish circles in Moscow that certain Polish relief officials in remote parts of Russia may be prejudiced against Jews; and it was added that the Polish embassy, though instructing its officials to distribute the relief from abroad among Polish citizens without any distinction as to religion, is not in a position to exercise control over the relief distribution in the distant parts of Siberia and Uzbekistan where Jewish refugees from Poland are concentrated.

In its statement today, the Polish Telegraphic Agency says that the Polish embassy in Kuibyshev has officially explained that all relief transports which reach Russia for refugees from Poland are directed by the transportation department of the embassy to the various districts where refugees are located. The relief is distributed there solely in accordance with the needs of the recipients, and all Polish citizens are treated alike, the explanation stated. Polish Jews are adequately represented in the regional relief offices, it added.

“It should be carried in mind that the gifts coming especially from Jewish organizations represent only a small percentage of the total gifts,” the statement carried by the Polish Telegraphic Agency says. It, however, omits any reference to the fact that the basic relief which the Polish Government-in-Exile is giving to Polish citizens in Russia has been arranged through lend-lease funds received from the U.S. treasury.

JEWISH DEPUTY TAKES EXCEPTION TO POLISH STATEMENT

Taking exception to the Polish statement, Dr. Ignacy Schwartzbart, Jewish member of the Polish National Council, today stated that according to cabled advices received by him from the representative body of Polish Jews in Palestine as well as from the Federation of Polish Jews in Canada, the position of the Polish Jews now in Russia is “very grievous and unbearable.” The survival of hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Poland is at stake, the cables said.

Dr. Schwartzbart pointed out that the relief work for Polish refugees in Russia is financed primarily by the Polish Government, and that the relief coming from private organizations is only of a subsidiary nature.

“But,” Dr. Schwartzbart continued, “Jewish institutions the world over are actively participating in the relief work for the refugees from Poland now stranded in Russia without stipulating that their contributions are intended for Jews only. The relief activities for these refugees now conducted by Jewish organizations in America, Canada, Palestine and England are certainly not smaller than those conducted by private Polish relief groups in the United States.”

Data made public today by the Polish Government-in-Exile reveals that 300 district offices to administer relief for refugees from Poland are functioning in Russia, all manned by Polish citizens. They have already received for distribution 700,000 pairs of shoes 700,000 pairs of socks,400,000 blankets, 500,000 overcoats, 300,000 sweaters, 500 tons of concentrated food purchased in the United States and substantial quantities of tea, coffee, sugar, cereals, cocoa, rice and soap and medical supplies. The relief came from the Polish Government as well as from private Jewish and Polish relief organizations in various parts of the world, the report says.

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