MARSEILLE, France (Aug. 20)
The position of hundreds of Jewish refugees now in this city is becoming more serious daily.
Most of them came here–the only unoccupied harbor of France–buyoed by the hope that they would be able to settle their emigration plans, obtain their visas and depart. All of them are now stranded here. The interruption of postal traffic between the occupied and the non-occupied zone makes impossible the transfer of their visas, most of which were applied for in Paris and other areas now occupied, to the United States Consulate here. A still graver development is the refusal by French authorities to grant exit visas to all male refugees between 18 and 48 who are of German nationality or origin.
(Unofficial confirmation was obtained at Vichy recently of reports from the Swiss border that Nazi agents had been permitted to enter the unoccupied zone and were rounding up hundreds of anti-Nazi German nationals for shipment back to Reich jails.)
The same ruling applies to French. British Polish and other subjects. There seems to be an exception as regards Czechoslovak nationals since the Czech consul here has been handing out forms destined to secure visas from the French authorities for these refugees.
The number of Jews in this city ranges from 500 to 1,000. An accurate estimate is impossible since there is no official Jewish or non-Jewish office where these refugees are registered.
There is a special ruling to the effect that no person who is not a resident of the city may enter its confines without special permission from the authorities. Many of the refugees were not aware of this regulation and on arriving within the city were taken back by the police dumped on the outskirts and told they could not enter again unless they obtained an official permit.
Very few of the Jews have their papers completely in order. Even if visa files should arrive here they will not be in a much more favorable position since very few of them possess the money to pay the $10 fee required, not to speak of the trip to Lisbon via Spain and the two transit visas required for this journey.
Apart from the vital need for financial support from the outside, the main question seems to be a quick settlement of the transfer of the visa files from the occupied to unoccupied territory. This, it is believed here, can be done if necessary via Washington if such action through the offices of the Madrid and Lisbon embassies is not practicable.