Red Cross Agent Describes “tidal Wave” of Refugees Sweeping Across France
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Red Cross Agent Describes “tidal Wave” of Refugees Sweeping Across France

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Jewish and other refugees are fleeing Paris under almost indescribable conditions, according to a cable received at American Red Cross headquarters from a representative abroad who told of what he had seen on route from Paris to Bordeaux, where the Red Cross European staff is now quartered. The cable said:

“Constituting third and fourth tidal waves over sweeping France are evacuees from Mediterranean regions and Parisian districts, crowding towns inland to Spanish border. Extremechaos caused by Belgian Dutch and Jewish refugees fleeing Paris every possible conveyance. People fighting room on southbound trains from Paris.

“Between Paris and Bordeaux yesterday counted 57 serious auto accidents, mainly due exhaustion, sleepless driver on move three, four days, unable find rest places. Belgian, French Red Gross units along route doing magnificent work unbroken line. All roads from Paris and north filled trucks, automobiles. Woman harness to heavy high-wheeled cart whereon deathly ill fifteen-year son, bedclothing, cooking utensils, dog. Had pulled four days, two younger children walking alongside. Another wagon saw mother milking goat while six-year girl fed elover picked roadside.

“Yesterday evening saw thousands camped gypsy style with blankets, sacking as tents or sleeping under wagons with all movable equipment, live stock encircling camps. Population of Tours tripled, largely because of Belgian civilians. Around Chartres cathedral square every yard covered with refugees and passions as most other town squares. En route it was amazing to see highways jammed with panicky evacuees while old men, women, children, peasants in fields alongside continued cultivation of crops unconcerned by tide sweeping past.

“In towns, villages of south France, civilian Red Crosses operating sanely and morale of civilians, including attempts to solve refugee problems seems better than previously, although evident greatest civilian refugee problem French history.

“Spirit of hospitality overcrowded departments greatly improved by new crisis and most peasant villages, towns, homes south France sheltering strangers. Enthusiastic and appreciative welcomes greet American Red Cross automobiles. We frequently hear the statement that Americans have no idea French, Belgian, Dutch appreciation for American Red Cross efforts to help us in darkest hours our life.

“The mayor of Chartres working unceasingly for fifty hours declared: Assure America that French civilians are grateful for American sympathy, material assistance. Tell them any aid, whether food, clothing, other, will enable more civilians to survive desperate situation.”

The cable said that rain is increasing the misery of hundreds of thousands of the refugees and added “millions to those already fruitlessly seeking shelters.”

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