PARIS (Jan. 14)
German decrees drafting all able-bodied Jews in Nazi Poland and 30,000 Jews in Berlin were declared by well-informed quarters here today to be connected with a project for construction of a Berlin-Moscow automobile highway through Poland.
Plans for the road have been completed, it was said, and the highway will be important in accelerating shipment of Soviet commodities to Germany by truck, supplementing Russia’s inefficient railway system.
An official announcement broadcast by German radio stations said all able-bodied Jews in Nazi Poland would be liable for two years’ service in labor battalions to be set up to carry out special tasks. (The decree authorizing the draft was issued by Dr. Hans Frank, Governor-General of Nazi Poland, from his headquarters in Cracow, according to advices reaching Amsterdam.)
A second Nazi radio announcement said: “Of the 100,000 Jews still in Berlin, 30,000 will be organized for public works.” (Twenty-two thousand Jews have already been put to work in Berlin at snow removal and street cleaning, according to a British news broadcast and other sources. It is understood they are being paid at a small hourly rate. Laborers include Jews between the ages of 16 and 55. A special office was opened to register them.)
To ensure the effectiveness of the draft, Nazi newspapers announced that Jews in the Reich who did not work would not be permitted to receive relief. Relief for Jews is financed by the Berlin Jewish Community.
Nazi newspapers also took occasion to deny reports of discrimination against Jews in issuance of rationed foods. However, it has been established that the special ration cards for Jews, stamped with a “J”, have the word “invalid” stamped over meat and rice coupons.
(The Belga News Agency in Brussels reported that rice coupons were detached from Jews’ ration books, and also said that grocers frequently refused to sell food to Jews, saying they were sold out.
(The Associated Press reported from Berlin that the Jewish ration cards for the period of Jan. 15 to Feb. 11 have been invalidated with regard to “coupons for a total of 125 grams (almost four and a half ounces) of meat and all coupons for podded vegetables, such as peas, beans and lentils.” The dispatch, which confirms JTA reports dated from Paris and neutral cities in recent weeks on discrimination practised against Jews in rationing, adds that Jews have also been denied certain general ration cards recently issued to Germans enabling them to obtain extras when the Nazi regime is able to make allotments beyond the regular daily ration.)
Polish sources in Paris reported that in Radom, Poland, where Poles and Jews were imprisoned in camps, a system of four categories for distribution of food had been set up, with Jews in the last group and receiving virtually no food at all. Those in the first category received less than half a pound of bread and a soup mixture per day, it was said.
Reliable information received by this correspondent from Warsaw said the Jewish community of Lublin, principal city of the Jewish “reservation” in Poland, was unable to construct barracks for 15,000 Jews as had been ordered by the Gestapo and feared the consequences if the barracks were not ready at the end of the time allotted.
In Warsaw, the Jewish community was ordered by the Gestapo to submit a report on the present situation of the Jewish population and on the activities of workshops where Jews are being trained for new vocations. The Gestapo has also demanded of this community a report on the Zionist movement in Poland.