No Visas Issued in Warsaw, Refugee Reveals

A Warsaw Jew who reached Paris today stated that the Polish Jews had no thought but to leave Poland, and the Gestapo would probably permit emigration, but no foreign consulates were issuing visas to Jews.

In a statement filed with the Federation of Jewish Societies in France, the refugee declared that only two foreign consuls remained in Warsaw–the American, who for the time being was not issuing any visas, and the Italian, who had standing orders not to issue visas, even for transit, to Polish Jews.

The informant himself obtained a visa from the Italian consul, who made an exception for personal reasons. This visa permitted the refugee a two-week stopover in Italy pending receipt of a visa for France. With the Italian transit visa he succeeded, after great difficulty, in obtaining an emigration permit from the Gestapo, which enabled him to reach Italy via Austria.

The situation of the Jews in Warsaw is getting worse daily, the refugee said, and while unable to emigrate legally, many manage to reach neighboring countries illegally, although such emigration is becoming increasingly difficult because of mounting restrictions on Jews’ movements in the occupied territory.

Not one Jewish leader has remained in Warsaw, the informant stated, and the Jewish community organization is restricted to disposal of the Jewish dead and the carrying out of a census of the Jewish population, ordered by the Nazis “for economic purposes.” This census was carried out on Oct. 28 and the lists submitted to the Gestapo, which thus now has every Jew in Warsaw on record.

To forestall anti-Nazi demonstrations, the refugee declared, the Nazi authorities took twelve hostages in Warsaw, including former Mayor Stefan Starczynski, Count Lubomirski, Prof. Stanishkis, ex-Senator Evart and two Jews, Abraham Gepner, well known philanthropist and president of the Jewish Merchants’ Association, and Siegelbaum, leader of the Bund, Jewish Socialist party.

Driven into a ghetto, the Jews have no means of livelihood since none has merchandise to trade or raw materials with which to practice his artisanship. It is impossible for Jews to open offices since the Nazi authorities deny them electric power, gas, water, telephone or mail service.

Two-and-a-half-million kilometers of glass are needed to repair broken windows in Warsaw, the refugee said, but all available glass has been shipped by the Nazis into the interior of the Reich. The lack of windows aggravates the health problem. Jews are left to freeze in rooms crowded with 15 to 20 people, without even elementary sanitary necessities since the ruined sewer system has not been repaired in the ghetto section.

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