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Thousands Evacuate to Soviet Interior

Tens of thousands of Jews were among the huge crowds of civilians moving today by wagon and on foot from the Soviet-Nazi war which is inhabited by at least two million Jews, into the interior to seek safety from Nazi air-raids and artillery bombardment, it was reported here today.

The Soviet authorities encouraged these victims to move the interior. Moving through woods and vast fields, the crowds of civilian refugees did not block the roads for the army, as was the case in France and in Belgium, where the roads are narrow. The exodus was especially great from Wilno, Bialistok, Grodno, Wolkowysk, Pinsk, Kowel, Rovno, Luck, Dubno, Wladimir-Volynsk, Lwow, Tarnopol and Stanislawow– towns of Soviet-occupied Poland thickly populated with Jews. It is assumed here that a similar exodus is taking place from the Bessarabian cities of Kishinev, Jassy and other sections of Bessarabia where the German Rumanian armies are waging a fierce battle against the Red Army, seeking to reach the important Soviet port of Odessa.

Of the first three Soviet Polish towns reported captured by the Germans, Lomsa is the most important from the Jewish viewpoint. Before the war 15,000 Jews lived there. Their number was almost doubled during the September, 1939, campaign through arrival of refugees from Nazi-occupied Poland. A number later left for the interior of Russia, but the majority remained in Lomsa and surroundings. The town has a 106-yea-old yeshiva, many talmud torahs and other Jewish institutions.

The Jewish community of Brest-Litovsk dates back to the 14th century. It is assumed that most civilians were evacuated before the outbreak of hostilities since the city is fortified. At one time Brest was inhabited by 42,000 Jews and under Polish rule always had a Jewish vice-mayor. Kolno had only a few hundred Jews. It was not immediately learned whether they succeeded in escaping to the interior.

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