Automatic Naturalization of Refugees Participating in Invasion Sought in Britain
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Automatic Naturalization of Refugees Participating in Invasion Sought in Britain

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Automatic naturalization of refugees who joined the British Army and are now fighting in the ranks of the invasion forces on the coast of France was asked today in the House of Commons.

In advancing this demand, several members argued that the granting of British citizenship automatically to refugees from Germany and Austria taken for overseas combat duty would protect them if captured by the Germans, since they would have to be treated as British subjects.

Herbert Morrison, Home Security Minister, rejected this demand. He told Commons that automatic naturalization as a measure of protection is not needed by refugees in British combat units. The international convention with regard to treatment of war prisoners provides protection for all British war prisoners irrespective of their nationality, he said.

“Should the enemy try to differentiate between the various nationalities within our forces, then the acceptance of British nationality by people who fled from Germany and Austria would only aggravate their situation,” he declared. “It would be unjustified to select automatically for naturalization aliens in the armed forces out of numerous bodies assisting in the war effort,” he added.


The prediction that “it will take some time before liberated France will be cleansed of the anti-Semitic poison spread by the Nazis since the occupation,” was made here by Leonard Montefiore, a leader of British Jewry, reporting to a session of the Anglo-Jewish Association on his seven-week visit to Jewish troops in Algiers, Italy and Egypt. This prediction, he said, is based on observations given him by responsible Jewish leaders in Algiers where he met with officers of the Alliance Israelite and the Synagogue Council.

Mr. Montefiore had high praise for American Jewish soldiers on the fronts which he visited. He said that they are extending fine cooperation to British Jewish soldiers and in many cases they have provided British Jews in the armed services with matzoth and other religious commodities.

“The Jewish chaplains,” he continued, “are doing a great job on all fronts. They are highly regarded by the military authorities as well as by the soldiers. One Jewish chaplain, Levy, was taken prisoner by the Germans and escaped and succeeded in reaching his unit twenty-four hours later. Chaplains are holding services on the beachheads under enemy fire.”

Reporting his impressions of the Italian front, Mr. Montefiore said that he found many Jewish soldiers from Palestine in a club for Jewish servicemen in Naples. Signs inside the club read. “In these walls speak only Hebrew; We are the only people without a country” In Bari, Mr. Montefiore visited a camp of Jewish refugees from Yugoslavia. They are all in good health, but they lack adequate clothing, he reported.

“In Cairo, I found active and well-organized Zionist propaganda,” the Jewish leader continued. “I visited the Palestine Jewish units in Egypt and spoke to high military officials about them. All commanders stressed the great services of the Jewish soldiers and said that they were glad to have the Palestine Jewish units under their command. The reputation of the Palestine units among other troops is very high,” Mr. Montefiore concluded.


Addressing the same meeting of the Anglo-Jewish Association, Leguard Stein, president of the organization, said that “our thoughts and prayers are with the invasion armies in France and with the enslaved Jews and other peoples of Europe who are awaiting liberation.”

Mr. Stein revealed that he has had several interviews with members of the Polish Government-in-Exile regarding the fate of the Jews in Poland. He also announced that the Association is now preparing a memorandum to the British Government with regard to the White Paper.

It was reported at the meeting that consultations between the Anglo-Jewish Association and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the two leading Jewish bodies in Britain, are taking place, and that the Association is now considering suggestions submitted by the Board of Deputies regarding post-war problems and a united post-war policy with regard to Jewish affairs in liberated territories.

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