Experience: Anders Army

Joseph Gajda
David Korn
George Ohrenstein
Mirel Rottersman
“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 into the army, in December they constituted 40% of the soldiers. On 1 December 1941, the 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 the 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 for this situation included nationalism, anti-Semitism, and the limited amount of food rations granted to the Polish army on the basis of an agreement with the USSR (96,000 from 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 demobilized and left in the USSR. During the Anders Army stay in Palestine, app. 3,000 Jews deserted and joined Jewish military organizations: Haganah and Irgun.”

Accessed July 14, 2011

Eretz Israel, Jewish officers in the Anders Army.
Accessed on July 26, 2011