Germany Curbs Emigration of Jews, Drafts Some in Labor Corps
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Germany Curbs Emigration of Jews, Drafts Some in Labor Corps

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With many of Germany’s frontiers virtually closed and with visas for foreign countries even more difficult to obtain than hitherto, German Jews today were facing what seemed to be a new attitude of the Nazi authorities regarding Jewish emigration.

Indications to this effect reached Paris in private reports, all of which asserted that the Nazis, who formerly did not put obstacles in the way of Jews wishing to emigrate, provided they gave up the greatest part of their property, were now making distinctions between women and aged, on the one hand, and young and middle-aged men, some of whom were being prevented from leaving by being conscripted into labor battalions.

In recent days groups of German Jewish emigrants observed at railway stations in Vienna and Berlin have comprised women only–most of them weeping bitterly–waiting for trains to take them out of the country while their menfolk remained behind to perform labors as yet unknown to them.

Women, aged men and children were seen carrying heavy luggage to the customs office while the German porters looked on, obeying an order strictly forbidding contact with “outcasts.” Customs officials breakfasted, talked and occupied themselves in other ways while Jews waited for hours to have their luggage examined. Many missed their last opportunities to cross the frontier and had to spend the night at the station.


Offices of Jewish relief committees were besieged by Jews from many countries stranded in France by the war crisis. Among those visiting the Joint Distribution Committee to seek assistance in reaching their homes were the delegates of the Palestine Mizrachi Organization to the recent Zionist Congress in Geneva and Jewish leaders from Poland, all of whom needed financial aid.

More tragic was the plight of refugees from Italy who, fearing the outbreak of war, attempted to cross the border into France. Some succeeded in negotiating the frontier, but, according to Paris newspapers, were immediately deported to Italy. Many refugees were stranded in Italy with sailings booked for the United States on Italian steamships. Although they had valid documents to enter the United States they were marooned by the cancellation of all Italian steamship sailings.

While coping with the new complications to the refugee problem, Jewish organization including the J.D.C., the ORT-OZE and the HIAS-ICA Emigration Association, started partial evacuation, sending their archives and skeleton staffs to the town of Angers and other interior towns, while the OZE was moving to Geneva.

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