PARIS (Jan. 10)
Following Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s stop-over in Paris, British circles here predicted tonight that there would be a “definite turn” in the Jewish problem in Italy as result of Mr. Chamberlain’s visit to Rome to see Premier Benito Mussolini. Although not indicating whether the “turn” would be for better or worse, these circles assumed that the Jewish question definitely would be touched on during the agendaless Rome talk, and that the fate of the 50,000 Italian Jews and 15,000 foreign Jews in Italy — the latter under orders to leave by March 12 – depended on the outcome of the appeasement trip.
While no one was so sanguine as to expect Mussolini to revoke his anti-Jewish laws, it was said that much depended on how Rigorously these measures are carried out, since the vague provisions leave much room for interpretation.
Speculation was rife especially on whether Mussolini would postpone the expulsion deadline against foreign Jews. Regarding this, a pathetic appeal was submitted to Chamber-lain by Jewish organizations here, picturing the tragic position of those affected and asking friendly intervention for the estimated 8,000 German, Polish Rumanian and Hungarian Jews residing in Italy who are unable to comply with the decree because their countries of origin will not accept them.
The first groups of Jews from Rome reached Paris today. They declared that some of them had applied for emigration to Ethiopia, but their applications had been refused. Although the recent decree specifying Italian lands where Jews may not settle omitted mention of Ethiopia, the Government nevertheless is not permitting Jews to proceed there. Rome’s attitude on Ethiopia, which last week was the subject of discussion between American Ambassador William Phillips and Mussolini, may be clarified during Chamberlain’s visit. However, the Jews under threat of expulsion would consider it a great misfortune if Mussolini, instead of postponing their deportation, offered Ethiopia for immigration.
Meanwhile, reports reached Paris that Italian authorities in the island of Rhodes had ordered all foreign Jews to leave by Feb. 28 or be fined 5,000 lires each and be expelled. Nearly all the 4,000 Jews in Rhodes are foreigners since the island was formerly Greek, becoming Italian after the war, and in 1920, 1921 and 1922 numerous Jews fled there from the war in Asia Minor and the great fire in Smyrna. Asked by a Jewish delegation where they could go, the authorities replied, anywhere but to Italian soil.