Soviet Clarifies Status in Occupied Area
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Soviet Clarifies Status in Occupied Area

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The status of Poles and Jews in Soviet-occupied Poland was clarified by an announcement reaching Paris today that the population would be classified into the following three categories:

(1) Those born in the area now occupied by Russia will automatically be considered Soviet citizens whether or not they wish to be;

(2) Those born in Nazi-occupied Poland but now in the Soviet area will have the alternatives of applying for Soviet citizenship or seeking return to their native towns, if the Nazis will admit them;

(3) Those in the second category not wishing to choose either alternative will be permitted to remain under Soviet occupation as refugees with the right of residence but not of working.

Simultaneously, it was reliably reported that the Soviet authorities had concluded an arrangement with Berlin whereby holders of Polish passports interned in German concentration camps will be released if they have relatives in Soviet Poland who furnish affidavits guaranteeing maintenance for at least one month.

These affidavits, when approved by the Soviet consulates in the Reich, will be submitted to the Nazi authorities, who will bring the internees under German convoy to the Soviet consulate, where their passports will be stamped with Soviet immigration visas. The internees will then be released, under obligation to leave for the Soviet within the shortest possible time.

Release of the first 200 Polish Jews from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin under this arrangement is expected to occur this week. If they have wives and children, their families must accompany them to Soviet Poland.

Jewish relief leaders here believe that if the plan operates as anticipated it will be possible to rescue several thousand of the approximately 35,000 Polish Jews held in German concentration camps, where they are said to be suffering from torture and insufficient food, with many deaths reported.

It appears that the Nazis are only too glad to get rid of the internees, relieving them of the problem of feeding the prisoners. With the food situation reported as growing more acute daily in the Reich, it is understood that the Nazis are even willing to release Jews other than Polish nationals who are held in concentration camps if they can prove that they have prospects for emigration.

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