New York (Mar. 8)
Jewish organizations here have received a detailed report indications how Polish military authorities prevented Jewish soldiers serving in the Polish armed forces in Russia from leaving Soviet territory for the Near East during the evacuation of the Polish Army from Russia.
The report is credited to an official of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, Eliahu Rudnizki, who was sent from Jerusalem to Iran to help Polish Jews to leave Russia for Palestine. While in Iran from July 24 until September 5, 1942, Mr. Rudnizki investigated the methods employed in the evacuation both by the Russian and Polish authorities. His report, received here by various interested groups, was released by the New Zionist Organization as follows:
“From the very beginning, the families of the Polish Jewish soldiers registering for evacuation in the Polish Legation and the military headquarters in Russia, met with discriminatory treatment. Whereas the names of Polish applicants were immediately and automatically entered on the evacuation lists and no documentary evidence or investigations were required, Jews had to furnish birth and marriage certificates; they were also told that only nearest family relatives will be accepted. A few days before the date scheduled for the evacuation the Jews who were accepted were summoned by the Polish authorities to turn in their evacuation certificates, because the N.K.V.D. (Narkomunudel – Soviet Ministry for the Interior) allegedly did not permit the Jews to emigrate, considering them as Soviet citizens. In Wrewsk (Jangajul), in Dzalal-Abad, Guzar, Kisaba and elsewhere, Jewish names were simply removed from the lists; in Karmina evacuation certificates that had already been issued were taken from Jews.
“Panic set in among the Jewish candidates for evacuation. During the month of August, they made a series of interventions with the NKVD. But the representatives of the NKVD in all cases categorically assured the Jewish delegates that, for their part, they had no objections to the emigration of the Polish Jews, and that it was their custom to approve in entirety whatever evacuation lists were submitted by the Polish authorities. The Jews cheerfully reported this reassuring Soviet answer to the Polish authorities. The latter, however, remained firm in their previous statements.
“A very significant scene took place in Wrewsk, where the Jewish Delegation succeeded in arranging a kind of a contradictory meeting between the local representative of the NKVD, Captain Alexandrowitch, and the Polish representatives, Colonel Sulik and Lieutenant Czerniawsky. Captain Alexandrowitch emphatically stated on this occasion that he had absolutely no objections to the emigration of Polish Jewish refugees.
“The Jewish delegation then informed the Soviet representative that in the course of an audience which it had had a few days before with the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army in Soviet Russia, General Anders, the latter had invoked the agreement with the Soviet authorities, which was alleged to create difficulties for the Jewish refugees. General Anders appealed to the patriotic sentiments of the Polish Jews, asking them not to approach the NKVD. Whereupon Captain Alexandrowitch exclaimed: “Let General Anders stop playing the fool…For every Jew thrown off an evacuation train, I shall throw off a Pole…’ This statement proved to be extremely effective. Col. Sulik immediately stated that he had never issued any order which would put difficulties in the path of the prospective Jewish evacuees. The Jews themselves drew up a list – the Polish authorities still refusing to do so – and 120 Jews were evacuated by the next transport. On another occasion Gen. Zhukov summoned the Chief-of-Staff of the Polish Army, General Szisko-Bogusz, and, in the presence of the Jewish delegation reiterated that the Russian authorities had no objection to Jewish soldiers in the Polish Army leaving Russia.