LONDON (Nov. 3)
The question of whether Jewish, Ukrainian and White Russian refugees from Poland who are now in Russia are to be considered Soviet citizens or are to retain their Polish citizenship will be taken up by Tadeusz Romer, the new Polish Ambassador to Moscow, the Polish Government-in-Exile announced here today.
The announcement was made at the same time that a report reached the Polish Government here disclosing that the new ambassador has succeeded in securing the release of eighty-four Polish officials who acted as administrators for the Polish Government in distributing relief to refugees from Poland now scattered throughout Russia. The officials were charged by the Soviet Government with conducting espionage, utilizing their freedom to travel in various sections of the U.S.S.R. Fourteen other relief officials are still under arrest on the same charge, and the Soviet authorities refuse to release them, claiming that they have sufficient evidence to prove that these Polish citizens were using their relief positions to cover up espionage.
The report of the new Polish Ambassador revealing the release of the eighty four relief workers did not indicate whether any Jews were among them. Previous Polish reports claimed that a certain number of Polish Jews had been assigned to assist the relief administrators in remote parts of Russia. Recent reports, however, stated that the Russian Government held that Polish Jews in Russia were Soviet citizens and consequently were not able to accept any Polish positions or Polish relief. The eighty-four released officials have been granted exit visas by the Soviet authorities and will soon proceed to Persia, the Polish ambassador stated.
At a session of the Polish National Council this week, the Minister of Social Welfare, Jan Stanszyk, reported that the Russian Government refuses to recognize the Polish citizenship of Jews, Ukrainians and white-Russians who are holders of Polish passports and considers them to be Soviet citizens by virtue of the plebiscite which was held in Eastern Poland in November, 1939, during the Soviet occupation of that territory. He added that this development, coupled with the fact that a very large number of refugees from Poland are scattered throughout Asiatic Russia, makes it impossible for many refugees to receive relief from abroad.
In the report of Ambassador Romer the number of refugees from Poland whom the Russian authorities consider to be Soviet citizens is estimated at about 400,000. A majority of these people are Jews. They are reported to be working either on collective farms in the distant parts of Russia, or in labor battalions behind the Russian lines, constructing roads and maintaining lines of transportation for the Red Army.