When the results of the plebiscite are made known today in Saarbruecken, hundreds of Saar Jews will already be on the other side of the frontier.
Though the League of Nations has guaranteed security for the Jews in the Saar under the Nazi regime, no Jew will take the chance of remaining under the Hitlerites if he can help it.
The difficulty of the situation lies, however, in the fact that the great majority of the 5,000 Jews in the Saar have no means to leave the country. They have not sufficient capital to be admitted anywhere. They are all small traders and professionals.
The statement which was made yesterday in behalf of Hitler, that the Jews in the Saar will be treated like the Jews in Germany, will do little to pacify the anxiety now prevailing among Saar Jewry. Hitherto not a part of German Jewry, the Jews of the Saar have no financial aid to adjust themselves to new professions, as the Jews in Germany have. They have no rich members in their communities personally to finance such adjustments. Nor do they have any community income which would make this task easier, as it does in Germany, where the Jewish community is fortunate enough to be in a position to enforce compulsory taxation upon every Jew in the country.
AN IMMEDIATE PROBLEM
The problem of the Saar Jews must, therefore, become the immediate problem of the existing Jewish relief organizations. There will be about 4,000 Jews left in the Saar and something must be done to enable them to leave this territory within a maximum of twelve months from today. Something must be done to make them feel that the Jews of the world are not indifferent to their position.
Four thousand Jews is an insignificant number in comparison with the millions of Jews for whom it is necessary to provide urgent relief. The case of the Saar Jews is, however, different than that of the needy Jews of Poland, Austria or even Germany. The Saar Jews must be taken care of immediately and without delay.
A SOLUTION WANTED
The best solution to the problem would be if the Jews of the Saar were permitted to enter the neighboring countries, where they could become absorbed without difficulty. Many of them would continue their trading in these countries of exile, just as they did in the Saar. Others would also adjust themselves there without outside assistance.
It seems, however, that the doors of the neighboring countries are to be tightly closed for entrants from the Saar. The French government issued instructions yesterday that no refugees from the Saar should be permitted to enter Alsace Lorraine or to settle in Paris. The Dutch government also issued strict instructions yesterday against permitting the entrance of immigrants from the Saar. The same line is also followed by countries like Belgium and Czechoslovakia. Thus the Jew of the Saar, like the other anti-Nazi element there, has nowhere to go.
Several hundred Jews have crossed the border during this week-end to Luxembourg and settled there. These are the richer elements of Saar Jewry. What of the poorer Jews?