Gestapo Orders Jews to Evacuate Czech Provinces, Move to Prague

In a drastic move to put the entire Czech Jewish population under the strictest control and to speed its emigration, the Gestapo ordered all Jews to evacuate provincial cities and move to Prague within the next twelve months.

The order was served upon Dr. Emil Kafka, president of the Prague Jewish Community, and other Jewish leaders by Storm Troop Leader Eichmann, head of the Gestapo Emigration Office for Jews. It affects all Jews without exception, including children, aged and the ailing.

Informed quarters believe the evacuation order prompted by the following considerations:

1) The Nazis want to concentrate the Jews in a single city to make possible the strictest control and to carry out anti-Semitic measures more energetically; 2) the Nazis consider the Jews to be an element supporting Czech aspirations and are therefore anxious to move them out of Czech towns especially and to replace them with German settlers; 3) the evacuation will serve to check future manifestations of sympathy for the Jews by the Czechs, such as recently took place in Iglau.

The Gestapo action provoked despair among Czech Jewry. The Prague Jewish Community immediately set about the huge task of arranging to shelter the throngs of provincial Jews expected to arrive here shortly. Jewish leaders were informed that all prospective Jewish emigrants must submit their applications exclusively to the Prague Jewish Emigration Office. The branch office at Bruenn, it was stated, will be suspended.

Eichmann, rapporteur on Jewish affairs in Austria who was largely responsible for anti-Jewish brutalities there, was recently appointed rapporteur regarding Jewish emigration from the “protectorate” and henceforth will spend three days weekly in Vienna and four in Prague. He considers that at least 70,000 Jews must leave the “protectorate” within a year and has state that “Austrian methods” will be adopted if the quota is not reached. To satisfy Eichmann, at least 200 Jews must leave the provinces daily for Prague. Simultaneously, at least 200 Jews must leave Prague daily for abroad.

The Prague Jewish Community will be made responsible for the maintenance of those arriving from the provinces, the provision of hostels, food kitchens, etc. The order means the complete ruin of an estimated 60,000 Jews, many of whose families lived in Czechia for centuries. The Jews of Budweis have already received an order from the Gestapo to move to Prague within a few days. Similar orders are expected to be issued in other provincial cities shortly.

Meanwhile, the Gestapo has compelled the Prague Stock Exchange and Corn Exchange to dismiss all Jewish employee. Der Neue Tag, organ of Reich Protector Konstantin von Neurath, demands that Jewish brothers and visitors be excluded from the Prague Bourse.

Dr. Rottenberg, director of the Zionist Organization’s Palestine Office in Vienna, has arrived in Prague to consult with Jewish leaders about the Jewish position in the “protectorate.” A Jewish delegation composed of Dr. Kafka and Dr. Franz Weidmann, head of the Bruenn emigration office, is scheduled to leave Aug. 47 for Paris and other cities to organize relief work for Czech Jewry.

Publication of a new Jewish periodical will start at the end of this month with the consent of the Gestapo. The publication will be devoted chiefly to emigration problems.

The well-known Jewish industrialist, David Weinstein , and his wife have committed suicide in Prague. Weinstein was owner of the firm, Breda and Weinstein, one of the country’s largest deportment stores. He was also president of the Priessnitz Sanatorium in Grafenberg.

In the Prossnitz District, Jews have been prohibited from visiting bathing establishments and parks.

Reports from Bratislava said that the Slovakian authorities had decided to destroy 22,000 volumes of a total of 25,000 in the Bratislava library as being “tainted with Jewish ideas hostile to Slovakian nationalist conceptions.”

Under the heading “Jewish Gangsters in Pressburg” (Bratislava), Der Neue Tag reports from Bratislava that one Adolf Frankel and 26 other Jews have been arrested after a “brawl” between Jews on the one hand and Germans and Slovaks on the other. The newspaper said the clash was precipitated by an attack by 50 Jews upon a group of Germans.

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