Belgium Votes 6,000,000-franc Subsidy for Refugee Aid Work

By an overwhelming majority, the Senate today adopted Justice Minister Paul Janson’s motion to allocate 6,000,000 francs in the budget to help defray costs of maintaining refugees in Belgium. Only Flemish Nationalists and a section of the Catholics voted against the measure, which received the support of Liberals, Socialists, Communists and part of the Catholics.

Adoption of the motion followed a debate on the refugee problem, with senators of all parties condemning anti-Semitism and stressing the refugees’ contribution to the country’s economic development. Socialist Deputy Henri Rolin, a professor at Brussels University and former League of Nations delegate, pointed out that only 350,000 foreigners were living in Belgium while 500,000 Belgians were working abroad. He demanded, however, that the Government forbid foreigners to settle in Brussels or Antwerp.

Catholic Deputy Hanquet, rapporteur on the measure, congratulated the Government on its decision to admit 250 of the 907 refugees on the German liner St. Louis. The refugees, it was learned, will be accommodated at Marneffe Castle, in the province of Liege. Families will be kept together.

Defending expenditure of 500,000 francs monthly at a time when economy was deemed imperative, Justice Minister Janson declared: “Could we possibly not do anything for these needly Jews, condemning them to slow death or suicide?” He expressed satisfaction at the rejection of racialism by the Catholic Church.

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