JTA Correspondent Reports on Present Position of Polish Jews in Russia
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JTA Correspondent Reports on Present Position of Polish Jews in Russia

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A picture of the present situation of the hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews who are now stranded in Russia was given here today by S. Wolkowicz, the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in Russia, who arrived here en route to Palestine where he intends to remain for a few weeks prior to returning to Kuibyshev.

In constant touch with the Polish-Jewish refugees in various sections of Russia, the JTA correspondent estimated that they now number more than 350,000. Ninety percent of them live in Middle Asia, chiefly in the Soviet Republics of Uzbekistan and Kazakstan. The remainder are scattered throughout Siberia in the districts of Swerdlovsk, Novo-Sibirsk and Krasnoyarsk.

“The majority of the Jewish refugees from Poland now in Russia are women and aged people who are not able to work,” Mr. Wolkowicz stated. “They depend for maintenance on the assistance which they get from relief groups. The Soviet authorities are furnishing free transportation to the Jewish refugees and are also aiding welfare organizations which help refugee children, aged and invalids.”


Estimating that there are about 24,000 Jewish refugee children from Poland in various parts of Russia, Mr. Wolkowicz said that 14,000 of them must be cared for by welfare organizations. About 12,000 are orphans, having lost their parents either on the battlefields, or on the roads when escaping from Nazi territory. Only about 10,000 children are being taken care of by their own mothers, he declared.

“Discrimination by Polish relief officials in Russia against Polish Jews, in connection with the distribution of relief from abroad, stopped last month,” Mr. Wolkowicz reported. “Other defects in the Polish machinery for relief distribution from which Jews were the principal sufferers have also been adjusted. The Polish Embassy in Kulbyshev has given definite assurance that the utmost justice and fairness will be observed in the distribution of any relief which reaches the Polish authorities in Russia.”

With the approval of the Soviet Government, the Polish authorities have recently appointed thirty Jewish representatives to cooperate in the relief distribution in localities where the majority of the refugees from Poland are Jews. The medical supplies which reached the Polish authorities in Russia from the American Joint Distribution Committee and other foreign relief organizations were distributed among the refugee centers on an equitable basis, the JTA correspondent stated.

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