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Polish Prime Minister Says Jews Will Be Welcome in Post-war Poland

Prime Minister Stanislaw Mikolajozyk of the Polish Government-in-Exile today estimated that “between 800,000 and 900,000 Jews are still in Poland where they are being kept alive through aid being given to them by friendly Poles.”

He said that the Polish Government might have to assume trusteeship for some confiscated property of Poles and Jews alike, before returning it to its rightful owners, and he gave assurances that Jews returning to Poland after the war would be welcome.

The Polish Prime Minister revealed these facts at a press conference here at which he emphasized that post-war Poland would be a “really democratic country” and that “every citizen, every religion, every race” would have full civil rights. He estimated that Jews constituted one half of the five million Polish citizens killed by the Nazis.

The war, the common suffering it entailed, said the Premier, had brought Poles and Jews closer together, and as a result anti-Semitism in the post-war period would be considerably diminished. He stressed that Poles were daily risking their lives to feed and care for Jews hiding from the Nazis in the forests and cellars of Poland, and stated that some of the Jewish fugitives had not seen the light of day for two years. “Polish priests,” he reported,” were shot by the Nazis for giving aid to the Jews.”

SCORES RAISING OF ISSUE OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN POLISH ARMY

Asked about anti-Semitism in the Polish Army, which had caused the discipline of Jewish soldiers who had asked to join British units, Mikolajozyk said that the raising of that issue was “disappointing.” Neither the Labor nor the Conservative party had raised it in the House of Commons, he said, attributing the agitation over Polish Army anti-Semitism to those who wished to hamper the Polish military effort.

He said he had visited the Panzer Division of the Polish Army in Scotland and talked with many Jewish soldiers who were even more “disappointed” than he that the issue had been raised. He asserted that the Jewish soldiers being trained in the Polish cadet school in Britain did not think it was a problem.

Queried about changes in the military personnel of the Polish Government-in-Exile demanded by groups in the Polish National Council, Premier Mikolajozyk called the matter an internal controversy and dismissed it by saying “it was not important.” The question applied to demands that Gen. Marjan Kukiel, Polish War Minister, and Polish Commander-in-Chief Kasmierz Sosnkowzki be removed as a result of their failure to curb anti-Semitism in the Polish forces.

Answering “certainly” to a question as to whether property confiscated from the Jews by the Nazis would be returned to their original owners, Mikolajozyk qualified this by saying that the matter was not a simple one. “Two and one-half million Poles have been removed from their homes and their property confiscated in western Poland,” he explained. “Before ownership problems can be solved, the Polish Government might have to assume trusteeship for some confiscated property of Poles and Jews alike, but eventually, it will be restored to individuals who can establish their rights.”

Asked if Jews would be represented in the post-war Polish cabinet, he said that the Jews would do well to agree among themselves whether they want to be accepted as full Polish citizens or want to be represented as a minority.

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