Switzerland Grants Sanctuary to 2,000 Jews Who Escaped from France
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Switzerland Grants Sanctuary to 2,000 Jews Who Escaped from France

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More than 2,000 Jews who entered Switzerland illegally in order to escape deportation from France to Nazi-held territory have registered with the Swiss police authorities and appealed for permission to remain in the country, it was reported in the press here today. Hundreds of Jewish refugees from France have so far failed to report to the police, or have not been found, the report stated.

The opinion that a rapid increase in the number of illegal immigrants can be expected in spite of the efforts of the Swiss authorities to prevent such a development, is expressed by some newspapers reviewing the refugee situation. Not a day passes without Jews from France slipping into Switzerland, they point out. They publish accounts of how aged Jews are being frozen to death in the snows of the mountains around Geneva and Chamonix, trying to cross the Franco-Swiss frontier.

The snow and the cold weather do not prevent the fugitives from hiding in the mountains with the hope of eventually reaching Switzerland, one of the Swiss newspapers writes. American relief agencies in Switzerland are concentrating on caring for children of the refugees.


American quarters in Bern today indicated that the United States is willing to accept 1,000 children and that the Dominican Republic is ready to admit another 1,000 children whose parents have been arrested in France for deportation to German occupied territories. At the same time Federal Councillor Edward de Steiger, head of the Department of Justice and Police in Switzerland, today announced that the United States has granted only 30 visas in 1942, Brazil granted 31, and Argentina, 5.

“Since the United States, Brazil and Argentina have practically ceased giving visas, Switzerland is no longer able to serve as a transit land for short-term residents,” Mr. de Steiger said. He added that there are at present 23,000 foreigners in Switzerland and the country, therefore, could not accept many more without endangering national security.

In reviewing the question of admitting refugees from France who try to escape deportation to Nazi-held lands, the Swiss press today reports that the Swiss Federal Council has carefully re-examined the refugee problem and has decided on a course which will continue Switzerland’s traditional policy of limited sanctuary. For the time being, however, there will be no further casing of restrictions, which recently were relaxed to permit some new admissions and to allow persons who entered illegally before August 13 to remain here.

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