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Ort Schools Still Functioning in France, Hungary; Syngalowski Asks Aid from U.S.

Training schools and farms of the ORT, Organization for Rehabilitation Through Training, are still functioning in France and Hungary despite the fact that both countries are under Nazi domination, according to Dr. Aaron Syngalowski, vice-president of the World ORT Union.

In an interview with a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent here, Dr. Syngalowski revealed that although the majority of the ORT workshops for both adults and children have been greatly handicapped as a result of the deportation from France of many instructors and pupils, the organization is continuing to operate 52 technical training schools and farms there. In these schools, he said, large numbers of French and foreign-born Jewish children – mainly from Alsace, Rumania and Hungary – work and are being trained. The French ORT supports students in these schools and also many Jews who are prohibited by the Nazis regulations from working, he added.

In Paris, the ORT leader stated, there are eleven institutions supported by ORT. In these schools, which are housed in three buildings, both men and women, boys and girls work. In one of the houses, which has been placed at the disposal of the ORT by Baron Ginzborg, the Jewish youths work in two shifts so that as many as possible can be accommodated. All these pupils are fed by the ORT.

In Hungary, the situation of the Jews and of the ORT institutions is much more satisfactory, Dr. Syngalowski stated. Splendid ORT school are functioning there, he said, which are financed by the Hungarian ORT. In addition, skilled Jewish weavers, tailors and carpenters receive machinery, tools and funds from a special fund established jointly by the ORT and the Budapest Jewish community, enabling them to be self-supporting. The ORT supports seven shops in which young refugees from Yugoslavia are trained and eared for.

TRAINING WORKERS FOR POST-WAR RECONSTRUCTION

In Switzerland, Dr. Syngalowski asserted, an entirely different situation exists. He said the chief emphasis of the ORT activities here is on bettering the conditions of the refugees for the present and training skilled workers for post-war reconstruction. ORT shops in Zurich and Basle, he disclosed, repair clothes and shoes for 4,000 Jewish refugees without any charge. In the refugee camps ORT has established 11 workshops and another five shops will be opened shortly in youth camps. Workshops will also be set up soon in two children’s homes in Geneva through the joint efforts of the ORT, the local Jewish community and the Federation of Swiss Zionist.

The ORT has petitioned the Swiss Government, Dr. Syngalowski said, for permission to import, duty free, raw materials to be used in refugee work shops to manufacture shoes clothes for 2,000 refugee children. The International Red Cross and the Swiss Red Cross are supporting this proposal. Dr. Syngalowski appealed to the ORT in America and to other organizations to interest themselves in this projects so that the refugee children can be clothed through the labor of the refugees themselves.

About 100 Jewish refugee youth, he said, have been placed with Swiss craftsmen where they are being trained to serve as cadres in the Jewish communities of post-war Europe. Another 150 youths are expected to be released from internment camps soon and they also will be placed with Swiss firms and in workshops. Besides these, a group of young Jewish engineers is being trained here to be instructors in ORT schools.

Dr. Syngalowski pointed out that these activities require large expenditures, and, although in view of the situation of the Jews in Europe, the ORT’s efforts may seem to bring “terribly little” aid, actually they are laying the groundwork for post-war reconstruction.

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