Portugal Releases Refugees from Prison; Sends Them to Forced Residence

All but five of the Jewish refugees who were imprisoned here for remaining in the country without permission or for not having obeyed expulsion orders have now been released from prison and sent to forced residence in the resort town of Caldas da Rainha, it was disclosed here today.

There are now about 160 Jewish refugees at Caldas da Rainha being maintained by the American Joint Distribution Committee working through the Portuguese Jewish relief committee. The Hias-Ica Emigration Association is seeking emigration possibilities for these people, most of whom came here soon after the fall of France.

Some of the refugees now interned at Caldas da Rainha had been granted United States immigration visas but had not actually received them when the State Department’s new regulations became effective in July. Some of them can qualify for visas under the new regulations but so far the American authorities have not acted on the applications submitted to Washington by relatives of these refugees. The delay in Washington in handling Lisbon cases is a source of much anxiety here not only to the refugees at Caldas but to several scores of refugees still having residential permits but who may, at any moment, be ordered to leave the country.

Jewish refugee aid officials here declared today that the number of Jewish refugees in Portugal is now appreciably less than a thousand, as compared to an estimated 10,000 a year ago. More than 50,000 have passed through Portugal since the fall of France, and the residue still here consequently represents less than two percent of one of the greatest emigration movements in many years. The decline in the number of refugees stranded here is also shown by the fact that refugees dependent on the relief agencies for maintenance have decreased from about 1,700 a year ago to 501 at present. This number includes the refugees at Caldas da Rainha.

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