VIENNA (May. 31)
Seizures of Jews mounted into the thousands today in an unexplained wave of arrests by the Nazi police as hundreds seized since Friday were sent to the Dachau concentration camp near Munich, Germany.
Last night van load after vanilla of Jews arrested over the weekend were removed from the Karajongasse jail and loaded on a special train, which left the West Station a few hours later. A police sergeant at the jail entrance told this correspondent: “We shipped 600 Jews to Dachau at 6 o’clock last night.”
Residents of the street where the jail is located made other estimates, ranging up to 70 van loads, each van holding 30 persons, or a total of 2,100. During the transport, police closed the street, ordered shopkeepers to close up and warned residents to keep their windows shut.
It was reliably learned that the orders for the drive came from Berlin and that the arrests will continue at least until tomorrow night.
At intervals throughout the day van loads of new prisoners gathered from the district police stations rolled into the Karajongasse. The occupants were immediately hustled into the jail, which was formerly a girls’ school and has been used since Anschluss as a prison, now apparently as a way station for the victims of the new wave of arrests.
Small groups of women relatives of prisoners gathered in the neighborhood of the building today seeking to learn the reason for the arrests learned no more than those who went directly to the police station, where they were told: “Your man is a Jew. That is enough. He is due for Dachau.”
This correspondent overheard women asking the police who guarded the jail whether they could bring food to the prisoners. The police replied that if the persons had been arrested Sunday or previously, they were already interned at Dachau, while those arrested since then would be held incommunicado at least until Friday.
The arrests were made by plain-clothes men attached to the regular Vienna police and the vans used were department vehicles, but the police referred more stubborn questioners to the Gestapo (German Secret Police) as the highest source of authority.
The plainclothes men were making the rounds of Jewish residences as early as 6 o’clock in the morning. Their activities were apparently not confined to any special district or to any particular group, except that most of the victims are young.
In some cases Jews arrested on the streets and in cafes. Among the arrested were several employes of the Vienna Jewish Community and of the Austrian Zionist Organization, some of whom were released on the request of the organizations’ leaders.
No reason was known for the mass arrests and the wildest rumors were circulating. Some quarters held that “Rassenschande” (race defilement) accusation figured in the seizures, pointing out that the Nuremberg racial laws were introduced in Austria last Tuesday, retroactive to September, 1935.