4,000 Polish Jews Participated in Defense of Stalingrad, Polish Government Says

More than 4,000 Polish Jews took part in the defense of Stalingrad, it was revealed by Polish official circles today on the basis of information arriving here from Russia. They were organized in a special labor battalion building fortifications and erecting barricades under the leadership of Polish-Jewish engineers.

(The Polish Telegraphic Agency today reported that Dina Semert, a Jewish girl from Poland, has been made a Hero of the Soviet Union for supplying the Russian Army with important information on German fortifications under very dramatic circumstances. “Dina and her mother,” the report said, “were living near Smolensk, having escaped there from Warsaw where they lived until the outbreak of the war. The mother and daughter were the sole survivors of the family. They did not disclose their Jewish identity and when the Germans came to the town, they continued to live as the rest of the peasants.

“One day,” the report continues, “when the Germans were preparing the village against a Russian attack, they told the Semerts that they knew they were Jews. They told the mother that since she spoke Russian well she should cross into the Russian lines and secure information for them as to when the Russians would attack. The girl would be held as hostage against her return. The mother demanded that the daughter be sent in her place. ‘She is more attractive and will be able to get more information,’ she argued with the Germans. Dina at first refused to go since she realized that her mother wanted her to escape. Finally, she was persuaded and the mother remained as hostage.

“When she got in contact with the Russians, Dina gave them all the information she had on the German plans and fortifications. In due course, they attacked and regained the village. On entering, they found that the villagers had been locked up in the church which was set on fire. They were able to rescue some of the people. Amongst them was Dina’s mother, who is now recovering in a Russian hospital,” the Polish report concluded.)

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