Four Refugee Streams Converge in Krakow
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Four Refugee Streams Converge in Krakow

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New details of the terror, disorder and misery in German-occupied Poland — particularly in Krakow, which has become the converging point for four streams of humanity — were furnished here today by a refugee newly-arrived from the area.

Complete disorder reigns in the German zone. The military command, civil authorities and the police rival one another in their ardor for organization. The result is a muddled situation in which orders, counter-orders, bans and authorizations succee one another so rapidly that no one knows what is forbidden and what permitted.

Krakow has now become a vast clearing station for four currents of immigration. Every day there pour into the city hundreds of Germans from the Reich proper or the Baltic states, misery-stricken Jews from Germany and Austria on their way to the vast “ghetto” in the Lublin area, Poles fleeing epidemic-ridden Warsaw, and pro-German Ukrainian nationalists chased out of the Soviet-occupied areas.

The Germans who have come to “colonize” the area have created a housing problem but the problem mainly affects Poles and Jews who are forced out of their homes to make way for them. Poles are “invited” to leave their apartments in 48 hours. For Jews a summary order is issued to get out at once.

The Poles forced out of their homes take refuge with friends. If their friends have gone, their only recourse is to accept the “hospitality” of concentration or “re-education” camps, where they sleep on damp cement floors until they become so ill that they are taken to a hospital.

The physical and mental state of the Jewish refugees shifted from Germany and Austria to the Lublin “reservation” is pitiful. All of them wear a red armband, denoting their status. Many have no overcoats or other warm clothing and shiver in the bitter cold. Poles have to count on friends in the country for meat. The Jews can’t count on anyone for help, except themselves.

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