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British Press Regrets Internment of Refugees but Sees No Alternative

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A number of refugee youths who had just reached the age of 16 were among the 3,000 German and Austrian aliens included in yesterday’s roundup, it was revealed today by an official of the Manchester Jewish Refugee Committee.

The official said the youths had been living in hostels and private houses since they came to Britain and had been training for various occupations which they hoped to follow as emigrants to various parts of the Empire.

Commenting editorially on the roundup, the periodical Spectator declared that the drastic treatment of the foreigners, the majority of whom were perfectly loyal, was “regrettable, but there is no alternative.” This was a case, the magazine said, when the innocent must suffer for the guilty. “No chances can be taken when so much is at stake, “it declared.

Internment of the remaining Germans and Austrians of military age was demanded by the Evening News, Lord Rothermere’s newspaper, in an editorial declaring there was “no way to separate the lambs from the wolves in lambs’ clothing, and the tragedy of Holland has shown that Hitler uses men and women without scruple in his treacherous designs.”

The News-Chronicle warned against “spy hunts” but found the internment of aliens a justified preventive step.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that while the refugees in Britain were taking the internment order calmly for the most part, some cases of suicide and attempted suicide were reported. The Chronicle compared the situation in Britain with Holland and Belgium, where refugees were released while pro-Hitler anti-Semites were arrested.

Recalling Fascist treachery in Holland, the Chronicle said: “The question in the light of all this is whether an equally vigilant eye is kept in this country on Jew-baiters, many of whom merely employ anti-Semitism as a convenient screen behind which to help Hitler do his filthy army work of treachery.”

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