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Desperate Plight of 500,000 Refugees in Soviet Poland Described by Relief Agent

The desperate situation of the more than 500,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi Poland who escaped to the Soviet area was described today by a staff member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee who has just completed a tour of the Soviet zone in a telegram from Wilno to Morris C. Troper, European director of the J.D.C. The telegram outlined the situation as follows:

(1) The half million homeless Jews include 300,000 massed in Lwow, 120,000 in the Galician provinces, 60,000 in Bialystok, 60,000 in Rovno and 40,000 in Lutzk and Kowel. They comprise 80 per cent of all refugees from Nazi Poland.

(2) Migration from the German area to the Soviet zone continues, but the Soviet authorities are beginning to introduce difficulties for the migrants, explaining that the problem is becoming too large to be handled.

(3) The Soviet authorities are permitting organization of local relief committees and for the time being are not hindering their activities, including the raising of funds for the maintenance of kitchens, which is being done with the assistance of the J.D.C.

(4) In Lwow, the authorities are cooperating in distributing food freely to refugees, but resources are limited. Food is also available for payment in Polish zlotys, but tens of thousands are penniless and need food and clothing. Thousands of deaths are certain if Winter clothing is not delivered by foreign relief organizations since it is impossible to obtain clothing supplies in Russia.

(5) In Bialystok the authorities are feeding 20,000 Jewish refugees daily but this is inadequate.

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