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Polish Government Dissolves Zionist Body; 13,000 Polish Jews Seek Exit Visas

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The federation of Zionist groups of Lodz, which was organized shortly after the liberation primarily for these of finding and moving Jewish children from non-Jewish homes and sending them to Israel, has been closed down by the Polish authorities, it was revealed here today.

The official reason for the government’s action was that the federation had not registered with the proper governmental agency and was, therefore, illegal, During the past few years, the group has rescued some 500 Jewish children, frequently paying large sums to ransom them. All but about 30 children, who remained in the organization’s home in Lodz when it was closed down, have been sent to Israel; the 30 will be cared for by the Jewish Central Committee.

Some 13,000 applications of Polish Jews desiring to immigrate to Israel are now on file with the Ministry of Public Administration. Meanwhile, the situation regarding the issuance of passports by the Ministry improved this month with the handing cut of some 300 visas. Up to now the monthly average has been about 120-130.

Fees for passports have been increased 20,000 zlotys–nominally about $100–and the so-called collective passport, which was extremely cheap, has been abolished. In addition the authorities have ordered that separate passports be issued for children up to 18 who have previously been permitted to travel on their parents’ documents. Fees are also levied on passports issued to persons travelling elsewhere than Israel. Although the passports are valid for a year, each person issued one is required to sign a statement that he will leave the country in two months.

Thus far this year, the Central Jewish Committee has issued 6,500 certificates attesting to the fact that the bearers are members of the Jewish community. Such a certificate is necessary before applications may be filed, for a passport to Israel.

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