VICHY (May. 19)
Pressure of would-be emigrants on American and other foreign consulates reached a new climax today as a result of the expected interruption of transportation to the New World and the fast-intensifying anti-Jewish measures in France.
(The Vichy Government is reported to have ordered temporary discontinuance of transit visas through Martinique, which has been one of the chief routes for emigration from France to the United States, and is said to be planning to halt the regular weekly sailings from Marseille to Martinique.)
Long lines of emigrants waited outside the American, Portuguese and Spanish consulates, while the entrance to the HIAS-ICA Emigration Association office was practically blocked by Jewish refugees demanding assistance in emigrating.
The American consulate staff, which is working overtime hours in an effort to cope with the situation, has taken a friendly attitude towards the refugees, but Portuguese transit visas are delivered with much difficulty and delay, hampering the HIAS ICA’s efforts to accelerate the stream of emigration.
A movement of panic resulting from harsh anti-refugee measures taken in Marseille and other large centers in southern France had led hundreds of refugees to go to Martinique despite extremely bad transport accommodations and uncertainty that they would be able to proceed to the U.S. Letters from refugees who went to Martinique, mailed on the way, describe unheard of unsanitary conditions on the overcrowded ships.
Meanwhile, nearly 150,000 persons are affected by the new German ordinance excluding Jews from virtually every field of activity in occupied France and depriving them of the possibility of making a living, it was reliably reported here.
The results of this measure, and also of new restrictions forecast by German spokesmen in paris, are felt in the form of increased pressure on Jewish relief bodies, which even now handle a burden incommensurate with their means.
The 5,000 foreign Jews recently rounded up in Paris have been interned in camps at Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande, near Orleans, formerly used for French war prisoners, it was reported here today.
The Jews live in barracks surrounded by barbed-wire and sleep on straw. The Pithiviers camp has 1,700 Jews between the ages of 18 and 40, most of them from Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland. They are obliged to spend seven-and-a-half hours daily at forced labor. The Beaune-la-Roland camp holds 3,000 men.
Paris newspapers said the men were transported in five special trains with locked doors and armed guards in the corridors. They had been ordered, on brief notice, to report to a police concentration point in Paris, from where they were taken to the trains.