LONDON (May. 21)
Gen. Marjan Kukiel, Polish War Minister whose resignation has been demanded because of anti-Semitism in the Polish Army, today issued a statement declaring that if the Polish National Council adopts a pending motion for his removal the government “will have to consider the consequences.”
Kukiel made this statement following the decision of the Council on Friday to postpone consideration of the motion until the Polish parliamentary commission inquiring into the treatment of Jewish soldiers in the Polish Army makes its report. Speaking before the Council Kukiel, on one hand, denied that an anti-Jewish atmosphere prevails in the ranks of the Polish armed forces, and, on the other hand, declared that “anti-Semitism is due to certain cases of behavior of Jews in Eastern Poland” where they allegedly greeted Red Army units entering liberated towns.
Meanwhile, President Raczkiewicz was busy today consulting with leaders of various Polish political groups with regard to action on the demand of the Polish Socialists that Kukiel be removed together with Polish Commander-in-Chief Gen. Kazinierz Sosnkowski. As a result of these consultations, it was predicted that no decision regarding the fate of the two army leaders is likely to be made within the next two weeks.
MOTION TO PREVENT CREATION OF JEWISH UNITS IN POLISH ARMY CONSIDERED
The Socialist group in the Council today considered a suggestion that it introduce a motion proclaiming complete equality in the army for all citizens of Poland of whatever nationality and race. Such a motion, it was pointed out, would not only serve to combat anti-Semitism, but will also exclude the possibility of Jewish units being created within the Polish forces.
A high ranking Polish officer, whose name is not revealed, today expressed the opinion, in a statement to the press, that the 21 Jewish soldiers who were pardoned by President Raczkiewicz after being sentenced to from one to two years imprisonment for leaving the Polish units to join the British Army, may refuse the amnesty if they are not permitted to join the British forces. The officer added that the announcement made last week by Foreign Minister Eden, in the House of Commons, that the transfer of soldiers from the Polish Army to the British will no longer be permitted “came as a great disappointment to soldiers in the Polish units.”
The London Jewish Chronicle, in an editorial in its current issue, expresses the hope that “Eden’s refusal to transfer the pardoned Jewish soldiers from the Polish Army to the British is not the final word,” The article declares that most of the men are resolved not to return to the Polish Army and that their refusal to rejoin their units is motivated not “by mere truculence, but by honest fear of the reception they are likely to get from hostile elements there.”