LONDON (Jun. 11)
The Polish Government announced yesterday that it will tighten emigration procedures for Jews. The official press agency. PAP, said that as of Sept. 1,1969, applications by Jews to leave the country would be considered “in conformity” with a much stricter “standard procedure” than has been in effect heretofore.
The announcement have no reason for the move. But the press agency, publishing statistics for the first time, said that from July 1,1967 until May 1,1969, 5,264 “Polish citizens of Jewish nationality left Poland declaring their wish to emigrate to Israel for permanent stay.” Unofficial estimates place the peak of Jewish emigration in 1968 when an estimated 3,000-3,500 Jews left the country in the wake of the official “anti-Zionist” campaign. Many considered the campaign, which stemmed from student riots in March 1968, to be a mask for the purge of Jews from high positions in the Government, the Communist Party, cultural and communications industries.
Emigration of Polish Jews to Israel was made relatively easy, though severe restrictions were placed on the amount of money and personal property they could take out of the country. Emigrants applied at the Dutch Embassy which has been handling Israeli affairs in Poland since the Warsaw regime broke diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War.
They received documents assuring their entry into Israel and travel costs to Vienna. As many as 2,000 Jews are believed to have left Poland during the first five months of this year. The remaining Jewish population is placed at about 15,000 compared to about 25,000 in Poland before the anti-Jewish purges. There were 3.5 million Jews in Poland before World War II.
Yesterday’s announcement of stricter emigration procedures gave Polish Jews little more than two months to make up their minds and prepare to leave the country. Some observers suggested that the Warsaw authorities acted in response to Arab complaints that Polish Jews, many of them skilled workers and professionals, were strengthening Israel. But many of the emigrants do not go to Israel. Once in Vienna they may apply for visas to other countries. Some circles here said the clamp-down on Jewish emigration stemmed from the fear in high quarters that Poland would lose top scientists, engineers, professors and physicians, many of whom are Jews.
Emigrants are allowed to take the equivalent of five dollars per person out of Poland and some household items and automobiles if at least a year old. Silverware, jewelry, precious stones and valuable stamp collections may be taken out but are heavily taxed.