WASHINGTON (Dec. 26)
Reporting that “there are over 300,000 prisoners of war working the farms of their conquerors” in Poland, Ernest J. Swift, vice-chairman of the American Red Cross, returned today from a three-month survey of eight European countries with a warning that the war-enforced movements of populations was one of the gravest problems facing the world today.
“Poles are being transported to the new Polish district from the provinces recently taken over by Germany, “Swift said. “There are over 300,000 prisoners of war working the farms of their conquerors. Added to these are hordes of Poles who fled during the war into adjoining countries and the Jews who have been or are going to be forced to migrate…
“Refugees from Poland present a particularly difficult problem. They are scattered throughout the Balkan countries, while the Baltic states also have their share. Altogether there are more than 100,000 Polish refugees, both military and civilian, in Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Rumania. In all of these countries the American Red Cross has furnished warm clothing, medical and surgical supplies and, in some instances, food, their aid being supplemental to that furnished by governmental and private agencies.
“In Poland, through an arrangement made with the German authorities while we were in Berlin, relief in the form of medical aid and clothing is now being distributed through Polish committees to Christians and Jews alike. Food is plentiful in Poland but medical supplies and warm clothing are desperately needed. Epidemics have been avoided so far but in wrecked Warsaw, with its congestion and disorganized life, danger of typhoid and typhus would be imminent without adequate medical and sanitary assistance.
“American Red Cross supplies for Poland are being shipped in via Trieste, Italy, and the principal distribution point will be Cracow. Many Polish committees are now functioning in Poland, including the Polish Red Cross and Jewish groups, and these will handle the actual distribution.”