Jews in the Anders Army

Jews in the Anders Army – all Polish citizens had the right to join the Polish Army in the USSR under the command of general Władysław Anders. In the beginning (summer and autumn of 1941) many Jews were accepted in the army, in December they constituted 40% of the soldiers. On 1 December 1941, soviet government announced that only people with Polish nationality were regarded as Polish citizens (Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Lithuanians and Jews would be treated as Soviet citizens and so they could not join Polish army). The Polish ambassador protested. As a result of the negotiations, the USSR government agreed to regard Jews who came from central and western Poland as Polish citizens. However, those directives were applied inconsistently due to obstacles created by the soviet government delegates and Polish military men. The reasons of this situation included nationalism, anti Semitism, the limited amount of food rations granted to the Polish army on the basis of agreement with the USSR (96,000 from the December 1941). The argument became even more intense when the Polish army was evacuated to Iran in the spring of 1942 (only some part of the soldiers could leave the USSR). Considering the 77,000 of the Anders Army soldiers, only 3,500 Jews reached Iran in the end. The rest of them was demobilised and left in the USSR. During the Anders Army stay in Palestine, app. 3,000 Jews deserted and joined Jewish military organisations: Haganah and Irgun.

The term was created within the framework of the project Zapisywanie świata żydowskiego w Polsce [recording the Jewish environment in Poland], whose author is Anka Grupińska, a well-known Polish journalist and writer, specializing in the modern history of the Polish Jews. The project, initiated in 2006 by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, consists in recording interviews with Polish Jews from all generations.
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