2,000,000 in Europe Get Passover Aid; Ban on Matzoh-baking Widespread

Passover today found approximately 2,000,000 Jews in Europe completely unable to provide matzoth for themselves and compelled to rely on local charity and the Joint Distribution Committee for their supplies of Passover food. Outstanding in poverty were more than 1,000,000 of Poland’s 3,500,000 Jews. Ousted from their economic positions, they would remain entirely without matzoth were it not provided by charity.

In similar plight were the Jews of Germany. In Austria, where in addition to other persecutions the Nazis have prohibited baking of matzoth, the remaining 100,000 Jews faced the eight-day holiday without the basic Passover food for the first time in their history. The J.D.C., however, imported 100,000 kilos of matzoth from Hungary and Rumania and delivered it to the Vienna Jewish Community in time for distribution to all Jews. Elsewhere in Germany, the Government permitted baking of matzoth only in one bakery in Hamburg. While forbidden to bake the unleavened bread themselves, the Jewish communities of other German cities could order their supplies from Hamburg, providing this was done under control of the Gestapo.

The distinction made between the Jews of Germany and Austria was of little help to the German Jews, since during the pre-Passover days the latter had been fleeced by the Government of all their valuables. According to figures reaching Paris, more than a billion marks in valuables were taken from the Jews under the decree ordering them to turn in all jewelry, including even ordinary watches and fountain pens, gold and silver ware, by April 1. Deprived of anything salable and not permitted to engage in any kind of work, even such Jews were thus turned into charity-seekers who had hitherto lived on valuables they sold or pawned.

Requests for matzoth supplies received by the J.D.C. offices in Paris before Passover also revealed a gloomy picture of the Jewish position in Hungary and Rumania. At the same time, efforts were being made to ascertain the Jewish situation in Slovakia and Prague, with which contact has been lost since the German authorities still prohibit entry by foreigners and departure of any residents.

An official report received from the Vienna Jewish Community establishes that of 165,000 Jews residing in Vienna on March 13, 1938, when Anschluss was effected, more than 66,000 have emigrated, thus reducing the Jewish population of that city to less than 100,000 within one year of the Nazi regime. The Vienna refugees found new homes in more than 81 countries and territories throughout the world, according to the report. About $1,000,000 in foreign currency, provided by the J.D.C. and the Council for German Jewry, was expended by the community in aiding the emigration of 4,355 persons who could otherwise not have emigrated.

NEXT STORY