French Chamber Gets Resolution Scoring Persecution; Rightist Deputy Urges Refugee Aid
Menu JTA Search

French Chamber Gets Resolution Scoring Persecution; Rightist Deputy Urges Refugee Aid

Download PDF for this date

An immediate concerted effort among the nations to solve the refugee problem was urged today in a resolution — identical with that unanimously adopted by the British House of Commons three weeks ago — introduced into the Chamber of Deputies in condemnation of racial and religious persecution in Europe.

Camille Fernand-Laurent, Rightist deputy who sponsored the resolution, said it would be a particularly fitting gesture to adopt a text already passed by the Commons. Condemning the Reich’s anti-Jewish terrorism, he demanded that France emulate the United States and England in generous admission of refugees, citing the solicitude shown by President Roosevelt and “by the highest moral authority in the world, the Pope.”

The resolution follows:

“This Chamber notes with profound concern the deplorable treatment suffered by certain racial, religious and political minorities in Europe, and, in view of the increasing gravity of the refugee problem, would welcome an immediate concerted effort among the nations, including the United States, to secure a common policy.”

While the Chamber decided to act on the resolution at January’s session, Foreign Minster Georges Bonnet announced to the deputies that the French Government was establishing an inter-religious committee to deal with the refugee problem, particularly the question of Jewish children to be admitted from the Reich. He reiterated that the French Government was ready to open its colonies for admission of 10,000 refugees, provided that other countries with colonies would do the same.

Simultaneously, representatives of 20 leading Jewish and non-Jewish relief organizations from European countries and America, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, held an in camera conference with the participation of Sir Neill Malcolm, League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Sir Herbert W. Emerson, who succeeds him in the position on Jan. 1.

The meeting discussed the deepening Jewish catastrophe in Germany and the urgent necessity of rescuing as many Jews as possible within the shortest possible space of time. Sir Herbert, for whom this was the first such conference, assured the organizations that as High Commissioner he would consider it his first duty to induce the countries bordering on the Reich to admit temporarily a maximum number of refugees as transitory migrants. Emphasizing the usefulness of private organizations, he said he expected them to back him.

Morris Troper, chairman of the European Council of the Joint Distribution Committee, assured Sir Herbert that American Jewry would do its utmost to assist his efforts to alleviate the plight of the German Jews by seeking a refuge for them.

A survey made by the French Foreign Office through the French consulates in Germany shows that 78,000 applications for visas are now awaiting decision. The number of Jewish refugees still remaining in France is estimated at not more than 25,000, of whom approximately 20,000 are self-supporting, some of them even giving employment to Frenchmen. Nevertheless, the French Government, fearing illegal entry of refugees, has increased the border forces with 1,500 additional police, most of them being stationed since the renewed wave of anti-Jewish persecution in the Reich last month.

It was estimated today that the arrangement between the British Foreign Office and Jewish relief organizations (JTA NEWS DEC. 19) for temporary asylum in Britain for overseas-bound German Jews, which is being implemented by all British consulates in the Reich, may enable the finding of temporary asylum for at least 50,000 prospective emigrants overseas since it is understood that the Home Office is willing to admit even persons whose visas are due as long as 18 months from now. Additional transmigrants whom the Home Office is also willing to admit are Jews over 60 years of age able to prove they will not become public burdens and youths to be trained for new occupations, provided that their eventual emigration is guaranteed by Jewish organizations in England.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund