State Department Warns Against Ransom for Refugees in Nazi-held Countries

The State Department warned today that attempts to ransom refugees out of Nazi-occupied countries result only in additional persecution and the acquiring by the Germans of much-needed foreign exchange. The warning denounced the purchase and sale of exit permits as an organized business and reminded neutral intermediaries of the blacklist. Would-be ransomers here face fines of $10,000 and 10-year jail sentences under the trading with the enemy act.

Describing the system of extortion used by the Nazis, the State Department quoted a report from one of the U.S. missions abroad, saying. “The ransom system as practiced at present seems to be an extension of the practice instituted by the Nazi Government whereunder emigrants were permitted to leave Germany if the state were compensated on their departure by all of their visible wealth, with the exception of a small percentage, usually reduced in effect to 10 or 12 1/2 percent. It is very apparently designed to provide foreign exchange for the furtherance of the German war effort – though there may be reason for suspicion that individual members of the Nazi party may personally profit by it.”

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