Jews are being drafted for labor service, and their possible usefulness if war comes is not being overlooked by Nazi authorities.
Several hundred Jews picked from the unemployed lists are now believed to be at work on roads and building construction in the outskirts of Vienna. All are married men and under 40. They are earning 60 pfennigs an hour, half of which is paid to them directly and the other half to their families.
The workers are housed in special barracks during their time of service. Like “Aryans,” they are being selected by officials at the Unemployment Exchange when they apply for their weekly pay.
Jewish ex-servicemen and all Jews of military age are being called to district war service quarters for registration and clarification of their status. Those who can prove that they are full Jews and who indicate their intentions to emigrate usually have no difficulty in getting military clearance papers necessary for taking out a passport. It is significant, however, that the clearance papers provide military exemption only “during peace-time.”
In reliable quarters it is stated that army headquarters have already prepared a program of activity for Jews of military age if war should break out. Although it is doubted whether Jews serving under the swastika will be given guns, there is reason to believe that places in labor brigades, ordinance departments and other non-fighting forces have been reserved for them.
Few doubt that, if war comes before the “Aryans” have been given time to replenish their depleted medical talent, Jewish doctors will also be promptly drafted for service. It is reliably reported, moreover, that the facilities of the Rothschild Hospital, only Jewish hospital in the city, have already been examined carefully for wartime possibilities. It is believed, for example, that the catacombs under the hospital building have been designated as an air raid shelter, a part having been set aside for Jews and another section for “Aryans.”