Polish Jewish Leaders Held by Nazis for Ransom in Foreign Currency

Nazis in Poland are arresting Jewish leaders and releasing them only after payment of stipulated sums of money in foreign currency by the local Jewish communities, it was reported here today.

In Lodz, members of the Jewish Community Executive were arrested about a month ago and later released. Some have been rearrested and sent to a jail in Radagosz, where the Nazi authorities have announced that their release can only be secured on payment of foreign currency.

Similarly, a group of Jews in Lodz who had arranged to leave for Palestine with the permission of the Nazi authorities, were detained at the last moment and were told they would not be permitted to leave before paying a certain amount of money in foreign currency. Lacking the funds, they were not able to emigrate.

The Nazis in Lodz are subjecting the Jews to a “war of nerves” by alternately telling them that they will not be sent to the Lublin Jewish “reservation” since Lodz is considered an integral part of Germany and next day warning them to leave Lodz before March 1, when expulsion of the Jews to Lublin will start.

Searching and plundering of Jewish homes in Lodz is continuing. Gestapo agents are seeking particularly Dr. Arjeh Tartakower, who is now in New York. His home in Lodz was ransacked by the Gestapo and his friends, including the laborite Zionist leaders Joseph Levy and Gershon Lichtenberg, have been arrested, as has been Leib Holenderski, a leader of the Left Poale-Zion, who was an alderman in Lodz for many years. The latter has been sent to the Oranienburg concentration camp near Berlin.

The Borochov Hechalutz colony, Zionist training farm, in Lodz has been dissolved by the Gestapo. The buildings of the three Hebrew high schools in Lodz have been requisitioned.

On Nov. 11, according to Polish official quarters, the Nazis in Lodz forced the Jews to remove the monument to the Polish national hero Kosciuszko, compelling one group of Jews to dance in the square while the others took down the statue, and at the same time filming the scene. Jews who refused to participate in the demolition were executed, the Polish report said.

Poles have also been subjected to indignities in Lodz. Poles are segregated from Germans in hospitals. Some hospitals are reserved entirely for German patients and others have separate floors for Poles. In the Polish hospital on Narutowicz Street, Polish patients are treated on the first floor only, the others being for Germans.

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