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Army Medical Office Refutes Accusation Against Refugee Doctors

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Unaware of the recent Army reversal of a previous ruling that foreign physicians who became naturalized after three months service were eligible for commissions, many groups – especially organized medical groups are attacking refugee doctors accusing them of failure to assume army service, it was reported today by the National Refugee Service.

“In one instance in Akron, Ohio, a medical journal editorial accused ten refugee physicians in that city of draft evasion. Prompt investigation revealed that all ten had tried to join the army but were not accepted,” the NRS report establishes.

Colonel Samuel J. Kopetzky of the Army Medical Corps, in charge of the assignment and procurement of physicians through the New York Selective Service Office, strongly refuted an accusation against refugee doctors which appeared in the Journal of the Medical Society of the County of New York. Col. Kopetzky stated:

“In the Public Forum there has appeared a letter by a physician who hid behind anonymity, probably ashamed to have asked the question he put forth publicly for answer. He wanted to know the number of foreign-horn physicians who had volunteered in the armed forces, as soldiers, being precluded from commissioned rank because of being non-citizens.”

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Col. Kopetzky then explained that foreigners are not accepted by the armed forces until application for their induction, submitted by their Local Boards, has been passed on and accepted by his (Col. Kopetzky) Headquarters and by the Army. “The question as put,” he said further, “has an invidious, insidious propaganda angle which has nothing in common with true Americanism…I am putting the procedure on record in such cases because the foreign physician should not be blamed for regulations which delay his entry into armed duty by those who cannot comprehend what must first happen before he can even be sent up by his local board. The numbers of such who have come into this Headquarters asking help to facilitate their entry into the government’s service is a record which in itself is the unspoken answer to the query. Figures may not be published at this time. I am writing this, however, so that all may comprehend and not lend themselves as volunteer Nazi propagandists.”

While attacks on emigre doctors, particularly by organized medical groups, have multiplied in recent weeks, public demands for their full utilization have also increased, the NRS reports. Much attention has been given in the public press to the fact that despite the shortage of doctors, all but a few states prohibit emigre physicians from practicing without citizenship, the report emphasizes.

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