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Fight for Rights of Jewish Lawyers in Warsaw Revealed in Polish Document

July 29, 1941
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The fight which Polish lawyers have put up against the Nazi authorities in Warsaw, who insisted on the elimination of Jews from the Bar Association, is described in a document made public here today by the Polish Information Center,

“Immediately after the conclusion of military operations,” the document reads, “the Warsaw Bar Association resumed its activities. A Warsaw lawyer who had been legal adviser to the Polish Treasury was appointed by the Germans to the post of Commissar for the Reorganization of the Bar. The man proved to be a Volksdeutscher, which shows how extensive was the fifth column.”

The Commissar’s first project of Nazi reform was the elimination of Jews from the bar. The German authorities at first refused to issue such an ediet, and, instead, asked the Bar Association whether it would agree to such a proposal. The answer was that “the problem cannot even be taken into consideration at the present moment inasmuch as the organization of the Polish Bar has been regulated by the laws of the country, and the occupation authorities are not entitled, according to the Hague Convention of 1907, to change those laws.”

The entire Executive Committee of the Bar Association was immediately suspended, and a week later the Gestapo raided its offices. 119 lawyers, including the Association’s eighty year old president were arrested. Most of them were deported to forced labor or concentration camps. Many of them have died since.

Then the Germans organized the Polish Bar by special edicts. The Commissar was discharged, having led the authorities to believe that the Association would acquiesce in the German proposal to expel Jewish lawyers. All Jewish lawyers were disbarred. Anyone having any Jewish blood connections, up to the fourth generation, the families of the wives included, was considered a Jew.

All lawyers were ordered to appear in person, on February 22, 1940, in the Bar Association’s building, and, in lieu of taking an oath, to sign a declaration that their parents and grandparents had not been Jews.

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