Form 47— Special Form for Conscientious Objectors

Aaron Belansky


I--Claim For Exemption

I claim the exemption provided by the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 for Conscientious Objectors, because I am conscientiously opposed by reason of my religious training and beliefs to participation in any service which is under the direction of military authorities.


s/ Aaron Belansky

II--Religious Training And Beliefs

l. Describe the nature of your beliefs which is the basis of your claim made in Series I above.

I am conscientiously opposed to any type of military service, whether it be combatant or non-combatant. I claim this on the basis that I believe that all the peoples of the world are just as good as I am. I consider myself a citizen of Earth and all the other people as my fellow citizens. I see no reason at all for killing other people, even though they be aggressors, have a different political, economic, or social system, or happen to live across imaginary boundary lines; even though they happen to have different languages, religions, facial characteristics or whatever else. I believe that this belief in the brotherhood of all mankind is essentially a religious belief. In signing the statement above I have used the term "religious training and beliefs," as I understand it is interpreted by the Selective Service System.

I could not accept non-combatant service because I consider it an integral part of the war machine. To my point of view, one who accepts non-combatant service is accepting the war system, which I could not do.


2. Explain how, when and from whom or from what source you received the training and acquired the belief which is the basis of your claim in Series I above.

As far as I know, my training and beliefs for my claim made in Series I were acquired from my own personal thinking and reading, both inside and out of school. I cannot recall the exact source or time when I acquired these beliefs but I do know that I have held them for quite a long time.

I do know that my father ran away from his native land in Europe and came to America in order to escape being called for compulsory military training at that time. I might have received some of my anti-war feeling from his actions. I learned later, however, that he was not a pacifist at that time, nor is he a pacifist today and is supporting the present war.

Probably the first that I had heard about the Conscientious Objector was in school, about Eugene V. Debs and other World War I pacifists and from Earnest L. Myers columns in the New York Post.


3. Give the name and address of the individual upon whom you rely most for religious guidance.

I do not rely upon any individual person for my religious guidance. I believe that a man’s own conscience is his best guide in all matters.


4. Under what circumstances if any, do you believe in the use of force?

I believe in the use of force when it is used by a restraining body which is exemplified by the police force of a community. This type of force is entirely different than the type of force used in war, which I would refuse to employ under any circumstances.

A policeman or one using this method attempts to restrain an individual while trying to hurt him as little as possible. He wishes to bring him to jail and subsequently before a court of law to determine whether or not the individual is guilty. He will go out of his way to make sure that innocent bystanders are not injured. He will not destroy property if he can help it.

Force, as exemplified by the military organizations is entirely opposite. They will destroy property or lives without attempting to distinguish between guilty parties and the innocent person. They will do everything to gain their ends, no matter how much suffering they leave behind them. They have no concern for other peoples’ rights and privileges. They hold the law in their hands without resort to the courts. They are the law.

In restraining personal attacks, I would use the same type of force which the policeman uses. At first I would try to reason with the attacking individual and if that fails or is impossible, I would attempt to restrain him from injuring me. I would not attempt to injure him unless I found it absolutely necessary to do so. However, I have not found it necessary to restrain attack in recent years.

In case of armed invasion by a foreign foe, I would use the method of non-violent resistance, non-cooperation with the enemy.


5. Describe the actions and behavior in your life which in your opinion must conspicuously demonstrate the consistency and depth of your religious convictions.

I try to be considerate of the feelings and views of all the people I come in contact with. I try to be as polite as possible on all occasions. I make sure that I do not get into any arguments which will lead to harsh words or violence either on my part or anyone else. Most of all, I try to be as fair as I can and free from prejudice when dealing with any person, no matter what his religion, nationality or color might be. I have also been contributing my services and money to such organizations as the War Resisters League and the National Service Board for Religious Objectors.


6. Have you ever given expression, written or oral to the views herein expressed as the basis for your claim made in Series I above? If so, specify when and where.

I have been giving expression of my beliefs to several of my friends, relatives, members of my immediate family and others. The first time that I believe I expressed them publicly was in 1939 or 1940 when the draft law was under discussion. I joined the War Resisters League in August, 1941. Before that, I had written to the Peace House of New York City in answer to an advertisement in the newspapers and asked for information about claiming for Conscientious Objector status under the Selective Service Act.


Participation in Organizations


1. Have you ever been a member of any military organization or establishment? If so, state the name and address of same and give reasons why you became a member. ----None.

2. Are you a member of a religious sect or organization? Yes. If your answer to question 2 is Yes answer questions (a) through (e).

a. State the name of the sect, and the name and location of its governing body or head if know to you. -----War Resister League, 2 Stone St., New York City. Dr. Evan Thomas, National Chairman, Abraham Kaufman, Executive Secretary.

b. When, where and how did you become a member of said sect or organization?----August, 1941, in New York City, by signing an enrollment blank and sending it in with my yearly dues.

c. State the name and location of the church, congregation or meeting where you customarily attend.----At members’ homes or out-of-doors, first in New York and now in Washington.

d. Give the name and present address of the pastor or leader of such church, congregation or meeting?----In Washington, D.C. - Samuel Verne, organizer, 1436 R St., N.W.

e. Describe carefully the creed or official statements of said religious sect or organization as it relates to participation in war:----War is a crime against humanity. I therefore am determined not to support any war, international or civil and to strive for the removal of all the causes of war.

3. Describe your relationships with and activities in all organizations with which you are or have been affiliated other than religious or military. ----None.

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from Roots and Fruits, a publication of the Stanislaus Peace-Life Center and the Stanislaus Safe Energy Committee

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