LISBON (Jun. 29)
Jews holding immigration visas for the United States and Palestine, unable to cross territories dominated by the Nazis and Fascists, are trying to adjust their emigration plans to the latest changes in European geography brought about by the war.
Preparations are being completed by the Portuguese steamship company for weekly sailings from Portugal to Palestine by a route requiring a voyage completely around Africa to Mozambique, from there through the Red Sea and thence to Palestine. The trip will take 45 days.
Arrangements have been completed with a Japanese line to transport Jews holding American visas across the Pacific Ocean and disembark them at San Francisco. This route will require the crossing of Russia and Siberia by land to Shanghai, where they will embark on Japanese steamers.
In Rumania and Hungary, holders of Palestine certificates are organizing a pilgrimage to Palestine by land, since the Mediterranean is closed. They will proceed by train and foot to Greece, thence through Turkey and Syria to the Holy Land.
Telegraphic appeals received here today by the HIAS-ICA Emigration Association indicate that Jews in Italy holding United States visas are trying to find their way from Trieste to Lisbon on Greek steamers, hoping to embark from Lisbon on Portuguese or Greek freighters, since American ships for the time being accept only American citizens.
An appeal received by the HIAS-ICA from Wilno Jewish Relief Committee said there were more than 150 Polish Jewish refugees in Lithuania holding United States quota visas which were nearing expiration. The message urged that some way be found to bring them to Lisbon or secure for them transit visas through Soviet Russia to Shanghai, from where they could embark on Japanese steamships.
The Soviet authorities are permitting transit by the Trans-Siberian Railway to Jews holding German, Lithuanian and Latvian passports. No transit visas are available, however, to holders of Polish passports. Polish Jewish refugees therefore are apparently stranded in Wilno since they cannot be brought to Lisbon. (A cabled appeal from these refugees to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency asked that a ship be chartered in America to embark them at Petsamo, Finland.)
In permitting German Jews to cross Russia, the Soviet authorities accept fare for the 12-day railway trip in German marks. At Shanghai, however, the Japanese line insists on payment for the trans-Pacific crossing in American dollars at the rate of $250 per person. The high fare will come as a heavy burden on the emigrants.
It is interesting that the new far eastern route for emigration of Jews to the United States will shift the emphasis from New York to San Francisco as the port of arrival for immigrants. (The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of New York has announced that it now has an office in San Francisco to assist the incoming immigrants.)
According to latest information received here, 600 Polish Jews who had been en route to Palestine before Italy entered the war are now stranded in Trieste. They may reach Palestine by land should they succeed in crossing Greece, which many of them are trying to do. Others are seeking permission to enter Portugal to proceed to Palestine by the round-Africa route.