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British Government is Asked to Keep Promise to Refugees Who Fought in North Africa

The British Government was urged today not to disclaim its moral responsibilities to a group of several hundred Jewish and non-Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria who broke out of the Vichy Government’s slave labor camp in the Sahara Desert when the Allies invaded North Africa and offered their services to the British Army.

The appeal is made in an editorial in the London Times which claims that “Britain is not fairly meeting her debt of honor,” with regard to these refugees “who were not compelled to fight, but who voluntarily joined the British forces because they saw in the Allied war effort a practicable means of furthering a crusade for European freedom.

“One of the British officers responsible for enlisting them, now a member of Parliament, has recently called attention in public to the value of their services and their fine anti-fascist record,” the Times writes. “He states that ‘when they enrolled we told them that, although there could be no ‘blanket’ promise of naturalization, they could trust the British Government not to let them down,’ and in 1943 there followed an official promise that all such ‘locally enlisted personnel’ would, on completing their service, be given the option of release in the United Kingdom.

“They are due for demobilization, but the War Office now insists, even though some of them are actually stationed in this country, that they must be released either in the country where they enlisted or in the countries, other than Britain, where they are now serving, or last accept repatriation as ‘displaced persons’ to the home countries which disowned them.”

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