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Clean-up of Anti-semitism in Polish Forces Demanded Despite Amnesty Decree

May 15, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The amnesty granted by the Polish Government on Friday that 21 Jewish soldiers convicted by a court-martial of leaving their units and attempting to enlist in the British forces has not ended the controversy around the anti-Semitic activities of Polish officers and men, it was indicated during a stormy debate on the Polish National Council on Saturday.

Discussing a motion demanding the immediate resignation of Defense Minister Gen. Marjan Kukiel, Dr. Ignacy Schwarzbart, Jewish deputy, urged that the Council adopt legislation making anti-Semitic activity in the armed forces a criminal offense. Schwarzbart cited several cases of anti-Jewish propaganda by commanding officers in the Polish units in Britain and in the Middle East.

When he mentioned the order-of-the-day reportedly issued in 1941 by Gen. Wlacyslaw Anders, Commander-in-Chief of Polish forces in the Middle East, in which orders assured the officers and men under him that he understood the motives for their anti-Semitic feeling, but cautioned them against overt activity at the present time, Schwarzbart was interrupted by Gen. Kukiel who declared that the Anders order was not “authentic.” Replying, the Jewish deputy produced an original copy of the document and passed it among the members of the Council.

Socialist deputy Jan Szozyrek charged that a strong reactionary group was active in the Polish Army and was working to undermine the authority of the government. He said that this group circulated anti-Jewish literature and created the anti-Semitic atmosphere which forced the Jewish soldiers to leave. Szozyrek alleged that the commander of the Polish Army, Gen. Kazimierz Sosnkowski was a leader of these reactionary circles and had brought many anti-Semitic officers back to the army since his appointment, which followed the reshuffling of the Polish Government necessitated by the death of Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski in an airplane crash.

In the course of the debate Schwarzbart also attacked Edward Warsawski, an underground representative of the Polish Government who arrived in England last fall, for “trying to whitewash the anti-Semites and repeating anti-Jewish statements.” Scharzbart demanded information as to who was paying for the “suspicious propaganda” laminating from Warsawski.

In a letter today to John Mack, Labor M.P., who was one of the leaders in the fight for a clean-up of the anti-Semitic conditions in the Polish Army, Gen. Sosnkowski welcomed the amnestying of the Jewish soldiers and said that all instances of inequality and injustice in the armed forces will be suppressed.

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