LONDON (Feb. 23)
Tens of thousands of disabled, unemployable Jewish refugees from Germany are confined under the most horrible conditions in Nazi prison camps in the department of Ariege in unoccupied France, near the Spanish border, it was revealed here today by Isaac Mendes-France, former member of the Blum cabinet, who reached London recently after successfully escaping from a military prison hospital in unoccupied France.
Jews interned in the Ariege camps are directly under the control of Gestapo officers, the former French deputy disclosed. The French press has been forbidden to even mention the existence of these camps and people speaking of conditions there are liable to be arrested for “spreading alarm and despondency,” Mendes-France stated.
Corroborating recent reports of the French people’s dislike of the Vichy anti-Jewish measures, Mendes-France said that the people are aware that anti-Semitism is “merely a device to distract from Vichy’s own political and economic failure” and are confident that all discrimination against Jews will disappear when France is once again free.
He reported that the majority of the administrators who have been placed over Jewish property are incompetent and dishonest, and are using their positions to enrich themselves. In some cases the administrators are unable to conduct the businesses without the help of Jews and are forced to retain the Jews in positions where they actually run the enterprise although they are prevented from coming into contact with the publics.