840.48 Refugees/1–1146: Telegram

The Ambassador in Poland ( Lane ) to the Secretary of State


53. At suggestion of Vice President Szwalbe,25 I invited three Jewish leaders to visit me re influx of Polish Jews into US occupied zones of Germany. As Sommerstein26 was seriously ill, only Szuldenfrei27 (member of KRN and Jewish bund) and Adolf Berman28 (brother of Jakub29 and Communist) called January 9 and reported substantially as follows:

There have been a few murders of Polish Jews in some small towns but none in large cities. Chief reason for desire of Polish Jews to leave country is psychological: They do not wish to remain in country which to them is a cemetery with three million Jews dead during occupation. Those Jews coming from east of Curzon Line30 return without finding families and with only small percentage of Jewish population. They naturally prefer to leave country with view of going Palestine or US. Zionist movement (Poalej-Syon) is encouraging exodus of Jews although Central Committee of Jewish Party in Poland is not unanimous in encouraging Jewish exodus.

Reports of ill-treatment of Polish Jews in Poland greatly exaggerated. No pogroms. Exaggerated stories are told partly due to [Page 133] hatred between Jews and Poles but principally to justify their desire to leave Poland. Remnants of anti-Semitic policy pursued not only by Hitler but by Beck31 Govt as well still remain in Poland. Every effort being made by Govt to stamp out anti-Semitism. Osubka-Morawski’s32 recent speech confirms this.

Central Jewish Committee about January 6 appealed to Jews in Poland to avoid panicky flight from country ensuring them that possibilities exist for building their future life within Poland.

In foregoing, report from group outstanding Polish Jews seems to me to be objective. I am, however, sending a member of staff to Lodz which is regarded now to be assembling point for those Jews to be sent from country to investigate whether any group of persons or organization is organizing transport of Jews to our zones.33

Sent Dept as 53; repeated Berlin as 5.

  1. Stanislaw Szwalbe, Vice President of the Polish National Council of the Homeland.
  2. Emil Sommerstein, Chief, Bureau of Damages and Compensation, Praesidium, Polish National Council of the Homeland.
  3. Michal Szuldenfrei, Director, Legal Bureau, Praesidium, Polish National Council of the Homeland.
  4. Adolf Berman, Deputy, Praesidium, Polish National Council of the Homeland.
  5. Jakub Berman, Under Secretary of State, Council of Ministers, Polish National Council of the Homeland.
  6. For information on the Curzon Line, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. v, p. 116, footnote 27a.
  7. Josef Beck, Polish Foreign Minister, 1932–39.
  8. Edward Osóbka-Morawski, Polish Prime Minister.
  9. In telegram 65, January 14, Ambassador Lane reported on four interviews which he had had during the last 2 days concerning the Jewish exodus. The evidence therefrom indicated that Jews were being assembled in Lodz under Zionist auspices and persuaded to go to the American zone in Germany whence they could proceed to Palestine. This emigration process, however, was not officially sanctioned by the Polish government. (840.48 Refugees/1–1446)

    In telegram 78, January 18, Ambassador Lane stated that he was told by Vice President Szwalbe of the formation of a committee of leading Polish gentiles to persuade the Jews to remain in Poland. The committee would try to insure guarantees of personal liberty. (840.48 Refugees/1–1846)