London (Jan. 22)
About 3,000 Jews from Tripoli who were interned by the Axis in a concentration camp in Fezzan have been liberated by the Fighting French troops who are now reported to have made contact with the British Eighth Army in their drive from Libya, the London press stated today.
The Tripoli Jews were sent to the concentration camp soon after Rommel’s armies were defeated by the British at El Alamein. The Jews were charged by the Axis military authorities with pro-British sentiments and their presence in Tripoli was declared to be “dangerous for the Axis cause.”
At least 5,000 Jews are still held in forced labor camps in North Africa it was estimated today in a statement issued here by the International Brigade Association. The statement says that 65,000 anti-Fascist prisoners in North Africa, including the Jews, are being held in eight camps in Algeria and in nine camps in French Morocco.
Speedy release of these civilians could be accomplished by including representatives of the refugee organizations in the British-American-French commission recently formed to investigate the camps, the statement declares. It also urges that relief organizations establish central offices in Algeria and Morocco, in order to facilitate the release of the internees, many of whom are being freed only when lodgings are secured for them before they leave the camps.
JEWS IN NORTH AFRICA DID NOT SEEK TO RETARD ABOLISHMENT OF VICHY LAWS
Polish circles today reported that the majority of the four hundred Polish citizens released from camps in North Africa are Jews. One of the released Polish Jews who reached London today told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that in the smaller towns in North Africa the Arabs ignored the anti-Jewish propaganda disseminated by pro-Vichy elements and Nazi agents.
This Polish Jew ridiculed the reports that Jewish leaders in North Africa asked that the anti-Jewish laws not be abolished immediately because of fear of antagonizing the Arab population. He said that there was general rejoicing when the American forces landed in North Africa, but that people there are astonished that officials of the Vichy regime are still permitted to occupy their positions as if nothing had happened.
The Polish Jew, who is planning to join the Polish Army, said that he was recruited into the French Foreign Legion in Marseilles soon after the war broke out. He then served with the French forces in Syria and was later transferred to Algeria. He lived in Sidi Belabbes where, he said, there was no tension between the Jews and the Arabs. There are many Libyan Jews in Algeria, he stated, and they are being cared for by the local Jewish communities.