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Warsaw Jewish Leader Tells of Curbs in Nazi Poland

Important information on the latest anti-Jewish restrictions in Nazi-held Poland was brought to this country by Maxmilian Friede, former Warsaw judge and Jewish leader, who has reached New York via England and Canada.

In a statement to the J.T.A., Friede declared Jewish life in the ghettos of Warsaw, Lodz and other Polish cities was worse than in the most crowded sections of any Chinese city. Eight to ten persons are crowded in one small room, living under unbearable sanitary conditions. This results in unprecedented mortality. The number of Jews dying in the Lodz ghetto averages 80 a day. Not much better is the situation in the Warsaw ghetto. The Nazis are also contemplating the establishment of regional ghettos for Jews in small towns, he said.

The food situation, Friede said, is precarious. The Jews get only half the rations allotted to Poles. They do not get any meat or fats. They have been compelled by a recent Nazi order to register with the authorities all their belongings, including furniture and clothing, which they now cannot sell without permission of the authorities. Thus, a majority of the Jews in Warsaw, who lived by selling their household furnishings, are now deprived of any source of maintenance and depend on charity.

“The Nazi authorities,” Friede declared, “have ordered the Jews to pay their rent to Nazi collectors. This act of robbery yields approximately fifty million zlotys to the Nazis in warsaw alone.”

Judge Friede reported that the Nazis have closed all Jewish elementary schools in Poland so that Jewish children are deprived of education. Similarly, all Jewish libraries have been liquidated. The valuable Jewish library at the main synagogue in Warsaw, on Tlomacka Street, has been closed and the books shipped to Germany. The Warsaw Jewish Historical Museum met the same fate.

Jewish religious life in Poland is being destroyed by the Nazis, Judge Friede continued. Jews are not permitted to hold prayers in synagogues. Most of the synagogues have been burned down by the Nazis or converted into warehouses and stables. The rabbinates have been dissolved by the Nazi authorities and rabbis are prohibited from performing religious functions. Jewish artisans are not permitted to practice their professions, except with Nazi permission. Despite all this, Jews in Poland are not broken spiritually and live in the hope that better times are to come, Friede concluded.

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