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Exiles Get Polish Citizenship Back

March 10, 1998

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ About a dozen former Polish citizens who fled during a 1968 anti-Semitic communist campaign are to have their Polish citizenship restored this week.

Poland’s communist leaders used Jews as scapegoats in a March 1968 campaign aimed at silencing social unrest and quelling an internal power struggle, and as many as 20,000 Jews fled. Those who left were forced to relinquish their citizenship.

The exiles have the right to apply for restoration of Polish citizenship. President Aleksander Kwasniewski’s office said Monday that about a dozen of them, most from Israel, have applied so far.

Some Polish politicians have pushed for a law to automatically restore citizenship for all the exiles.

A blanket restoration could cause problems for those who live in countries that do not allow dual citizenship, said Ryszard Kalisz, head of the presidential legal department.

Kwasniewski, an ex-communist, instead launched a campaign Monday to publicize the exiles’ right to individually apply for it.

An advertisement in the national daily Rzeczpospolita read: ``Great are the losses of Polish society which because of the March emigration lost many enlightened and loyal citizens.″

The president’s office said it could not afford to run the ad abroad.

Only about 250,000 Jews from a thriving 3.5-million-strong community survived the Holocaust in Poland. About 20,000 Jews live in Poland today.

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