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Deported Jews, in Pitched Battle on Cattle Train, Force Guards to Open Doors

The Belgian Government-in-Exile today released a report of another battle between Jews deported from Belgium and Nazi guards escorting them on a cattle-train to Poland. Many Jews, the report says, were killed during the fray, but many succeeded in escaping.

This transport of Jewish deportees, the second to offer resistance to the Nazis, was composed of Belgian and French Jews, including women and children. Shortly after the train started out from Malines, the deportees made a break, many of them trying to jump from the running train. The German soldiers and members of the pro-Nazi Flemish volunteer units escorting the train, opened fire. The road on which the train travelled all the way from Tirlement to Vise was strewn with the dead and wounded.

One of the Jews who succeeded in escaping from the train and was given refuge by a Belgian peasant stated that he was taken from a concentration camp near Malines “where the inmates suffer from hunger, thirst and ill treatment, and where women and children were murdered in front of our eyes.”

“When we were informed that we were to be deported to occupied eastern territory,” the Jew is quoted as declaring, “we became convinced that the worst was awaiting us. Most of us therefore decided to risk anything rather than to be massacred like other deported Jews. The engine which pulled our train was old and slow moving and we took the risk of jumping from the running train after a pitched battle in which we used anything we could lay our hands on to force the guards to open the doors of the cars.”

Belgian gendarmes, the report of the Belgian Government-in-Exile states, opened an investigation into the causes of the death of those found along the road, but the German police ordered the investigation stopped.

Two of the most violent anti-Semitic weeklies in occupied Belgium were compelled to close down because of lack of support on the part of the public, it was reported here today. The publications are L’Ami du Peuple and Volkseaanval.

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