PARIS (Aug. 28)
Germany has decided to invade Czechoslovakia early in September, according to reliable information reaching here today, and is forcing Jews to leave the Reich in order to have fewer mouths to feed in wartime.
Germany is ready to enter Czechoslovakia even at the risk of a war with France, the French Government has learned, and Berlin has made inquiries of the Rumanian and Yugoslavian Governments to assure their neutrality if and when Germany invades Czechoslovakia, but such neutrality is held here to be unlikely.
This information came as Dr. Bernhard Kahn, European director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, sailed for New York on the Nieuw Amsterdam, loaded with reports picturing the misery, degradation and suffering of the Jews and describing the Jewish situation in several European countries as the darkest and most desperate in history.
Germany is daily forcing scores of Jews to cross the frontiers illegally into neighboring countries. Hardly a day passes without an average of 50 Jews being forced to swim the Rhine and the Danube, to climb mountains, to cross woods and marshes and make their way illegally into Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Luxemburg.
They arrive penniless and often stripped of their clothing to be faced with threats of deportation unless local Jewish communities guarantee not only their temporary maintenance but their emigration. Already they total about 10,000. Their Shelteriand feeding is costing the joint Distribution committee $5,000 daily, while their emigration would necessitate $1,500,000.
But the dumping of Jews continues, and therefore delegations from Jewish communities in Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Czechoslovakia have arrived in Paris for conference on the situation. Dr. Kahn, before sailing, emphasized that local funds were completely exhausted and henceforth the entire responsibility for preventing deportation of refugees must be carried by American Jewry through the joint distribution committee and other central Jewish organizations.
Perturbed by the flood of illegal refugees, the Swiss Government yesterday officially protested to Germany after Berne had become convinced that despite the closing of the Swiss frontiers the dumping was continuing. Swiss authorities estimate that 2,000 refugees were forced across the border into Switzerland in the last few weeks. Frontier conditions are such that the Swiss police are unable to cope with the dumping. Only if thousands of soldiers were stationed along the frontier would it actually be closed.
The Federation of Jewish Communities in Switzerland today addressed an appeal to the Council for German Jewry in London emphasizing that the Swiss authorities were demonstrating humanitarian understanding, but that unless the refugees gradually emigrated their position in Switzerland would be “disastrous.” The appeal added that the majority of the refugees were Austrians, but that many of them had been dragged from Vienna through Germany to be pushed across the borders at Basel and Schaffhausen.
“Some enter Swiss territory possessing ten marks,” the appeal said. “The majority, however, are moneyless, and even clothesless.” The federation has so far spent 1,000,000 Swiss francs of its own capital to help the unfortunates, it was stated.