PARIS (May. 15)
France today followed Britain’s lead in interning German and Austrian refugees as a precaution against “fifth column” activities. The French action went further than the British by including women.
Eight thousand Jewish male refugees reported to the military authorities yesterday for internment and approximately the same number of women report today, under an order issued after a conference between Premier Paul Reynaud and General Pierre Hering, military governor of Paris.
It was chiefly Jewish refugees who were affected by the new measure, since non-refugee Germans had been interned immediately after the outbreak of the war and held as enemy aliens. Among those who reported for internment were many who had been previously interned and released after investigation had left no ground to suspect that they were friendly to Germany.
The men, between the ages of 17 and 55, gathered at Buffalo Stadium in suburban Montrouge, permitted to take along 30 kilograms of luggage and food provisions for two days. They will be transported to the interior. The women report in the same manner at the Paris Velodrome. It will be the first time that females refugees are interned. Mothers are exempt from the internment order.
The French press sought to console the refugees by declaring that innocent persons always had to suffer when precautionary measures were taken. Le Petit Parisien pleaded for humane treatment of the refugees while in the camps and added that the refugees were benefiting from the internment because they might be exposed to unjustified reprisal in the event of a pronounced “fifth column” scare. The rightist Action Francaise, however, demanded revision of naturalizations granted to emigrants from Germany since 1936.