British Jews Stage March to Polish Embassy over Anti-semitism in Poland
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British Jews Stage March to Polish Embassy over Anti-semitism in Poland

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An estimated 4,000 representatives of British Jewry marched in silence from Hyde Park to the Polish Embassy here today to present to the Polish envoy a letter condemning the Polish Government’s repression of the surviving remnant of Poland’s Jews and its anti-Semitic campaign. The document was taken into the Embassy by a deputation consisting of Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits of the British Commonwealth, Michael Fidler, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Sir Barnett Janner, MP., chairman of the board’s foreign affairs department, Sir Samuel Fisher, board vice-president, and Simon Frisner, chairman of the Polish-Jewish Ex-Servicemen’s Association.

The silent march, which stretched for half a mile, was organized by the Board of Deputies in conjunction with some 20 other Jewish bodies representing the entire Anglo-Jewish community. The marchers carried hundreds of banners with statements protesting the campaign of the Communist Polish regime against Polish Jews. Their letter declared that “we are shocked that the Jews of Poland, numbering about 20,000, many of whom are aged and infirm, should be singled out as scapegoats and blamed for Poland’s internal difficulties.” It demanded, “in the name of humanity” the “immediate denunciation” by the Warsaw regime of all incitement to hatred against Jews, cessation of all discriminatory treatment, threats and oppression, the restoration to their posts of those dismissed because of their Jewish origins and freedom for Polish Jews to live in dignity in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations 21 years ago.


Reports reaching here from Warsaw yesterday quoted attacks against Sir Barnett and Dr. S. Levenberg, representative of the Jewish Agency, in the Polish Communist Party newspaper. Trybuna Ludu. Sir Barnett was assailed for his speeches in Parliament condemning Polish anti-Semitism. The paper published two dispatches from London, containing detailed proceedings of the Poale Zion and Zionist Federation annual conferences and decried the “political influence” of Poale Zion whose members, it said, number a majority of the Jewish Labor Party MPs and a number of House of Lords members. One of the dispatches, sent by PAP, the official Polish press agency, condemned an “anti-Polish” resolution adopted at the Zionist parley “following the lead of Levenberg and supported by Janner.” The newspaper asserted that the Zionist Federation did nothing during World War II to help the Warsaw Ghetto fighters.

According to dispatches from Warsaw, the attacks on Zionism have spilled over into attacks against the current liberalization movement in the Czech Government and Czech Communist Party. Trybuna Ludu said, in an editorial, that the content and tone of the Czechoslovak statements were “often similar to those made by imperialist and Zionist centers in the West that are conducting an anti-Polish campaign.” The editorial referred to recent criticism of Poland’s anti-Jewish campaign emanating from Czechoslovakia and other Czech press, radio and television comment which irked the Poles. Jozef Barecki, deputy editor of Trybuna Ludu, told a party meeting in Warsaw that “antisocialist and Zionist forces” in Czechoslovakia were demanding bourgeois political parties and improved ties with West Germany and Israel and were attacking party cadres and “fraternal countries.”

The Sunday Observer reported today that 300 Polish Jews left Poland last week on exit visas as a result of Communist Party leader Wladislaw Gomulka’s recent statement that those who were “loyal to Israel” would be given permission to leave Poland. “It is known that many thousands have asked for visas,” the paper said. The Daily Telegraph reported that those who emigrate must renounce Polish nationality. The paper added that hundreds of Jews in responsible positions in the Polish Government, Party and press and in academic and artistic life have been ousted in the past few weeks. The violent press attacks against “cosmopolitan” agents of Zionism are unabated and widespread discrimination is rife against all Poles of Jewish origin causing deep concern among Poland’s 20,000 Jews,” the Telegraph said.

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