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New Polish Commander Pledges Equal Rights for Jews in Armed Forces

“The principle of the equality of all citizens is embodied in the Polish Constitution and is, therefore, binding upon the Polish forces and their Commander-in-Chief,” General Kazimierz Sosnkowski, new commander of the Polish armed forces, declared last night in an exclusive statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Asked for a statement defining his attitude towards the “Jewish problem” as such, Gen. Sosnkowski said that “as a soldier, holding only a military position, I am unable to make pronouncements concerning political matters, which are the exclusive domain of the Government.”

When queried specifically on the position of Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces, Gen. Sosnkowski declared that “every commander knows how important it is to maintain good morale among his troops. Soldiers must not only be well trained, but must be sound in mind and body. Therefore, all facilities are extended to Christian and Jewish Polish soldiers to practice their religion.” He pointed out that rabbis are attached to the Polish troops as chaplains to aid the Jewish soldiers.

Gen. Sosnkowski concluded by stating that “Christian ideals and the democratic love of freedom have for centuries permeated Polish life and culture and are instilled in the heart of every true Pole,” and reiterated his “personal feelings of dismay and horror” at the persecution of the Jews in Poland by the Nazis.

The new commander-in-chief affirmed that he stood by the late General Sikorski’s “order of the day,” issued in August, 1940, barring any discrimination against soldiers of the Jewish faith and warning that persons molesting Jewish soldiers would be punished.

The J.T.A. query to Gen. Sosnkowski was motivated by the fact that some Polish quarters have charged that he had anti-Semitic tendencies. They point to the fact that during the war with Russia in 1920 he interned thousands of Jewish soldiers and volunteers in an isolation camp near Jablonna, on the charge that they had “Bolshevik tendencies.”

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