Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Polish Command Confirms Sentences Imposed on Ten Jewish Soldiers; Suspends Others

May 7, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Polish military command has confirmed ten of the twenty-one sentences imposed by a court-martial on Jewish soldiers who left the polish armed forces because of anti-Semitism and attempted to join the British forces, it was stated in reliable quarters here today.

The other eleven sentences were suspended by the high command. The twenty-one Jewish soldiers had been sentenced by a Polish court-martial to terms of imprisonment varying from one to two years for absenting themselves from their units without leave. The convicted soldiers are under detention in military barracks under British control.

The London News Chronicle, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, today welcomes the fact that the Polish National Council has appointed a commission to inquire into the position of the Jewish soldiers in the Polish Army and to establish the extent to which anti-Semitism is rampant there. The paper expresses the hope that the commission will be given “the widest possible powers” and that protection will be secured for every witness who testifies before it.

“Publish opinion in Britain,” a News Chronicle editorial says, “has been profoundly stirred by the causes which prompted the Jewish soldiers to ask for a transfer from the Polish Army to the British. The fact that the court-martial of these soldiers was conducted in secret has given added cause for disquiet.”


The Spectator, a leading London weekly, carries an article today urging “important resignations” in the ranks of the Polish Army as a measure to curb anti-Semitism there. “The Polish authorities,” the article states, “must take the most stringent steps to stamp out any sign of anti-Semitism in the army. It is essential, even at the cost of important resignations, that the Polish Government make and keep military authority definitely subordinate to civil.” The publication welcomes the appointment of the investigating commission.

The London Jewish Chronicle today expresses doubt as to whether the Polish Government, as it is constituted at present, will act on the findings of the commission. It charges the Polish Government with “exploiting the weakness and the difficulties of the Polish-Jewish political leaders in order to discredit the wretched victims and belittle their complaints.”

The editorial in the Jewish Chronicle assails the Polish-Jewish representatives for opposing the creation of special Jewish units within the Polish Army, or the transfer of the Jews to British units. It dismisses the arguments of these representatives that such action would impair the position of the Jews in post-war poland by stating that “something may have been said in favor of such a theory in 1940, but the same cannot be realistically maintained in 1944 in the light of experience.”

Recommended from JTA