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Unable to Emigrate, Jews in Protectorate Arrested, Tortured by Nazis

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The already unbearable position of the Jews in the Bohen Moravia Protectorate has taken a definite turn for the worse since the outbreak of the according to reports from reliable sources reaching London through neutral countries.

Although emigration possibilities for Czech Jews, few as they had been even in peace time, were practically cut off when hostilities began, pressure for Jewish emigration was not relaxed by the Gestapo, which insisted upon fulfillment of the requirements imposed on the Czech Jews to send at least 200 out of the country every day.

The impossibility of meeting this demand provided the Nazi secret police with a pretext for applying the sanctions provided for in the event of non-compliance with the emigration orders. Mass arrests were carried out on an unprecedented scale. Leaders of Jewish communities, especially in Prague and Pilsen, were held as hostages for fulfillment of the demands, and it was ascertained that many of those interned in concentration camps were tortured to death.

Jewish community life is reported in a state of complete disorganization, with the experienced leaders either emigrated or arrested. The Prague Jewish Community is presently administered by its former executive secretary, a comparatively young man who has been force into a role of great importance by the Gestapo authorities.

One of the few leading personalities still active in Jewish community life is Hannah Steiner, now head of the Prague Jewish Community’s emigration department. This department, established along lines laid down by the Gestapo, has taken over the function of the former voluntary Jewish institutions.

Reports from the Protectorate do not mention drafting of Jews for labor, as has been carried out in Slovakia. This is interpreted in informed circles to indicate that the Nazis in Bohemia-Moravia are still hampered in carrying out their full anti-Jewish program by preoccupation with the growing resistance and sabotage by the Czechs.

It is pointed out that but for this Czech revolutionary movement the Nazi war for extermination of the Jews in the Protectorate would have made much greater progress.

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