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France Asked to Prolong Stay of Refugees in Beirut; 700 Danzig Exiles Survive 4-month Odyssey

Leading French Jewish relief organizations appealed to the Foreign Ministry today for at least a one-month extension of the temporary permit under which 658 refugees, including two American citizens and 28 non-Jews, are staying in Beirut, Syria.

Should the Appel be rejected, the refugees, who were quarantined in Beirut when the freighter Frossula was hit by an epidemic at sea, face immediate re-embarkation and resumption of their three-month odyssey in search of a haven.

Meanwhile, details were received here of the inhuman experiences undergone by about 700 Danzig refugees who drifted for four months on the Mediterranean before being dumped on the shores of Palestine. Without passports, the refugees embarked on their voyage on an old freighter equipped with a supply of food and water calculated to last three weeks. Despite rationing of a bowl of potato soup and a slice of sausage for an entire day, the food and water supply was exhausted in a month.

Parched and hungry, the passengers were forced to seek food by approaching the Greek shore, where local Jews delivered aboard ship a limited quantity of food. The entire supply, however, was seized by the freighter’s crew, who refused to feed anyone unless paid with money, valuables or even articles of clothing.

The crew, completely out of hand, robbed the passengers of all their valuables and then forced those with relatives in America and Palestine to cable for money to be sent to a bank on a Greek island. The money was delivered to the ship and confiscated by the crew.

The ship’s captain, who displayed sympathy for the passengers and tried to maintain discipline, was forcibly replaced by two sailors who took over command of the vessel. The saga of piracy and suffering on the high seas was ended for the refugees when they were finally dumped, the women clad only in bathing suits and the men in pajamas, on the shores of Palestine.

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