U.S. Asked to Intervene Against Mass Deportation of Jews in Russia

Acting Secretary of State Herbert C. Hoover, Jr. was urged by the American Jewish Committee today to take “immediate and effective action towards halting the current mass deportation of Jews from the Russian-Polish border to exile and imprisonment in concentration cams in Siberia.”

At the same time, the Committee asked that the United States government vigorously condemn “this new act of inhumanity” before the current session of the United Nations General Assembly. In its statement, the Committee called for a two-fold approach through parallel actions which included representation by the State Department to the Soviet government and United States action in the United Nations. The appeal came in the form of a letter signed by Irving M. Engel, president of the Committee. It urged the State Department to:

1. Make representations to the Soviet government through our Ambassador in Moscow that deportation of inhabitants of the border territories annexed to Poland and Lithuania cease forthwith;

2. Make representations to the Soviet government urging that all persons and families already deported from these areas be immediately returned and re-established in their former homes and occupations;

3. Alert American diplomatic missions and consular offices in Eastern European countries, particularly in Hungary, to the danger of forced removals of population, including Jews, to concentration camps or to exile with a view to taking every possible preventative measure. Attention should be paid also to the forced separation of families.

The Committee’s statement pinpointed the areas of deportation as being in the now Soviet areas of Lvov (Lemberg) and Vilna which were annexed during World War II by the Soviet Union. It linked the deportations to the “Soviet concentration of military forces along the Polish-Soviet border, aiming at the intimidation or suppression of Poland’s quest for freedom.”

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