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Anti-Semitism in Polish Army in Middle East Forces 3,500 Jewish Soldiers to Leave

April 13, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jewish and non-Jewish circles here are watching with great interest the attitude of the Polish Government-in-Exile with regard to the charges of anti-Semitism in the Polish Army voiced last week in Parliament. The charges elicited a Polish reply yesterday announcing that Commander-in-Chief Gen. Kazimierz Sosnowski is attempting to check the anti-Jewish feelings in the Polish armed forces in Britain.

While 600 Jewish soldiers in the Polish Army in Britain are at present asking to be transferred to British units in order to escape the anti-Semitic atmosphere which they encounter, it was learned today that anti-Jewish feelings in the ranks of the Polish Army in the Middle East have forced about 3,500 Jewish soldiers there to leave the Polish units and seek enlistment in the British Army or in Jewish units serving with the British Army. A large number of these Polish Jewish troops are now in Palestine. Raids were made by Polish units on Jewish settlements in an attempt to seize "deserters" but when the raids resulted in skirmishes with Jewish settlers, they were discontinued, apparently upon orders from the British military command.


It was recalled here today that Jewish members of the Polish National Council some time age demanded that the Council adopt a resolution protesting against the mistreatment of Jews in the Polish Army. The Council, however, rejected the demand for a clear-cut condemnation of the anti-Jewish elements in the Polish armed forces. Instead it adopted a vague resolution which served as an indication to the anti-Semites in the Polish Army that their activities were not wholeheartedly disapproved of by the majority of the Council.

Three Polish Jewish leaders, including Dr. Ignacy Schwarzbart, one of the Jewish members of the Polish National Council, issued an appeal, made public yesterday, to Jewish soldiers in the Polish Army in England asking them to remain in the Polish forces and not to insist on being transferred to British units. "We fully understand your bitterness and feelings of humiliation," the appeal states. "We shall continue to fight energetically and with determination for the effective removal of the sources of motives and symptom of anti-Semitism which cause your bitterness. We consider however, that despite your bitter feelings, your step is erroneous and harmful and we call upon you to remain in the ranks of the Polish Army." The two others who signed the appeal are Dr. A. Tartakower, chairman of the American Division of the Representation of Polish Jewry, and A. Reiss, a member of the presidium of the Representation.

It is pointed out here that the Polish military command showed anti-Semitic tendencies even before the Polish Army was moved from Russia to the Middle East. Jewish soldiers were removed by their Polish officers from trains leaving Russia for Teheran and in many cases Russian officers responsible for arranging the evacuation of the Polish units were compelled to intervene to prevent the ejection of the Jewish soldiers from the transports. Jewish Agency representatives also reported that Jews were mistreated when the Polish military units reached Teheran.

In the statement issued yesterday by the Polish Ministry of Information it was admitted that "isolated cases of discrimination, against Jews" have been found by a special Polish military commission, but on the whole "the cases mentioned in the complaints were of a trivial nature."

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