Fleeing Polish Jews Halted by Consulate in Prague; Foreign Minister Pledges Change

Polish Foreign Minister Wincenty Rzymowski today promised that the Polish consulate in Prague would facilitate the issuance of passports or other identification documents to Jews fleeing Poland.

Mr. Rzymowski’s assurances were given to Lewis Neikrug of the HIAS who had protested to him that the Polish consulate in Prague had refused to issue passports to several fleeing Jews and compelled them to return to Poland. The Foreign Minister said that the consulate would be instructed to grant the necessary papers even in cases where the applicant left the country illegally.

Rabbi Philip Bernstein, advisor on Jewish affairs to Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, who visited Poland last week, told the JTA today that Jewish leaders in Poland had told him that the “panic psychology” which is now prevalent among the Jews is extremely harmful. They pointed out that all Jews would not leave the country and some would therefore, have to live with their Polish neighbors, also that expressions of such an attitude encourages pogroms and, lastly, they said, it is dangerous to create the precedent that pogroms can drive all Jews out of a country.

Rabbi Bernstein said that Premier Eduard Osubka-Morawski had told him that the government’s policy regarding Jews was two-fold: an attempt to create conditions which would enable Jews to live a decent life in Poland and, at the same time, not placing obstacles in the way of those who nevertheless wish to emigrate. The Army’s Jewish advisor said that the best possibility of some Jews being able to rebuild their lives in Poland lay in Lower Silesia, where many thousand repatriates from Russia have been settled.

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