Expulsion of Czech Jews Delayed As Gestapo Leader is Seized for Theft
Menu JTA Search

Expulsion of Czech Jews Delayed As Gestapo Leader is Seized for Theft

Download PDF for this date

Expulsion of the 70,000 Jews from Bohemia-Moravia, scheduled to begin yesterday, was delayed when the Gestapo leader in charge of organizing the enforced migration and ten of his assistants were ordered arrested by Field Marshal Hermann Goering for embezzling funds expropriated from Jews, it was reported here tonight. One of the Gestapo agents was said to have committed suicide before he was arrested.

The arrested Gestapo leader, Herr Klein, is said to be a cousin of Heinrich Himmler, supreme chief of German police forces, who was reported to be siding with the Gestapo men, all of them his trusted lieutenants. A clash was predicted between Himmler and Marshal Goering.

The orders for seizure of Klein and his lieutenants in Prague were said to have come from Berlin after Marshal Goering, who as economics’ dictator is in charge of all raw materials, had ordered an official inquiry into a requisition by Klein for delivery of steel and concrete for the building of a large mansion.

Goering sent a few of his own secret service men to Maerisch-Ostrau, where Klein had organized the expulsion of Jews and expropriation of their property before being transferred to Prague, and the investigators discovered that Klein and his Gestapo assistants had misappropriated large amounts of money. The arrests followed and the men were brought to Berlin.

Klein was recently promoted by Himmler to the post of chief of the Gestapo in Prague in recognition of his expulsion of the Jews from Maerisch-Ostrau. In Prague, he had set Feb. 1 as a deadline for Jewish emigration from the Protectorate, after which enforced migration was to be launched.

When Klein ousted from Maerisch-Ostrau all Jews between the ages of 17 and 70 On Oct. 17 and all Jewish women up to the age of 55 on Oct. 25, each emigrant was permitted to take with him a maximum of 300 marks in property and cash and four pairs of underclothing. He then ordered all Jews to appear with small valises at a certain hour at the local Jewish school, where each had to disrobe and undergo a search by Gestapo agents.

It was expected that as a result of the arrests the expulsion of Jews from the Protectorate would not be conducted with the speed that was originally anticipated.

Meanwhile, French newspapers reported that Nazis in Bohemia-Moravia, were using Czech and Jewish prisoners to test poison gases. Gestapo men were said to be subjecting Czechs and Jews to various forms of torture and delivering their dead bodies to relatives later only on payment of ten marks “for delivery services.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund