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8-foot Wall Holds 500,000 in Ghetto, U.S. Reporter Finds on Visit to Warsaw

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Confirmation of reports that the Germans had constructed a concrete wall, eight feet high, around the central ghetto district in Warsaw and that typhus had broken out in this enclosed area was contained in a Warsaw dispatch today from Alvin J. Steinkopf, Associated Press correspondent.

Steinkopf, who is attached to the Associated Press’ Berlin bureau, was the first and only non-German correspondent permitted to make an exhaustive inspection of the Government-General area of Poland. The correspondent toured the zone for a week accompanied by Dr. Jost Wallbaum, director of Health in the Government-General and Dr. Hans Klaevcke of the German Medical Chamber.

The ghetto wall surrounds 100 or more city blocks and is “so tight a cat couldn’t get through it,” Steinkopf said. Eighteen streets leading into the ghetto are unobstructed but at a moment’s notice the Germans can put policemen at these entry points and effectively bottle up the 500,000 Jews and Poles residing in the area.

The Germans claimed the wall was not built as an anti-Semitic move but simply as a “desperate” health measure to prevent the spread of typhus, Steinkopf said. According to the German authorities several months ago 30,000 persons became infested with thphusspreading lice and were kept isolated in the ghetto area until gas could be brought from Germany to fumigate their homes. There are now 58 cases of typhus in Warsaw, Steinkopf said.

The correspondent reported the city was still a scene of devastation as a result of the terrific Nazi air and artillery bombardments during the Polish campaign.

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