BERN (Sep. 27)
The Vichy Government will refuse to issue exit visas to Jews in France “who wish to emigrate to places other than Germany,” even though they may have visas for other countries, Chief of Government Pierre Laval announced last night, at a press conference in Vichy, according to a broadcast today by the Nazi-controlled Paris radio. Laval added that the ruling – which will affect several thousand Jews in France who possess visas for the United States and South American countries – applies only to foreign Jews who have been naturalized or have entered France since 1936.
Meanwhile, the Union Francaise, published in Lyon, in the unoccupied zone, stated that a campaign has been launched to confine all Jews under Laval’s rule in a ghetto-like reservation outside of Vichy.
At his press conference, Laval said that his reasons for not granting exit visas to Jews who entered France since 1936 were, firstly, “because they might take up arms against Germany, which would be contrary to the Armistice agreement,” and, secondly, “there is a suspicion that they would work against the interests of the French Government as soon as they reached another country,” the Paris radio stated. At the same time, Laval is reported to have reiterated his determination to continue the deportation of Jews from France, despite criticism from Catholic circles and the open opposition of the French people.
A report reaching here from the French Riviera states that pro-Nazi French storm troopers invaded two synagogues there over the week-end and refused to leave until the local Jewish community paid them 1,000,000 francs. Local leaders of the Catholic Church attempted to persuade the storm troopers to leave the synagogue, but their pleas were unavailing.
The Swiss press today reports that in order not to provoke further pro-Jewish demonstrations among the French population, the authorities in unoccupied France have decided to move the centers where Jews are being concentrated for deportation. Instead of locating these centers in large cities, like Marseille and Toulouse, where the local French population and Christian religious organizations are interfering with the police, a large center for all Jews slated for deportation has been established at Riversaltes, unoccupied France, nine miles north of Perpignan. From this camp direct trains will take the deportees to Germany for transfer to unknown destinations.
The local press today also publishes eye-witness reports of how Jewish children are separated from their fathers and mothers when deported from France. The identity papers of the children are destroyed by the police, while mothers are crowded into trains departing in one direction and their children are herded into trains headed in another direction, the accounts state.