Geneva (Sep. 12)
Thousands of French and refugee Jews in the Italian-held section of France were seized by the Nazis this week despite heroic efforts to reach Italy or Allied territory, according to reliable reports received here today.
The rapidity with which the Germans occupied the Riviera and the other territory held by the Italians prevented most of the Jews from escaping, the reports say. Many fled in small boats, even row-boats, hoping to reach an Allied port. Some few hundred are reported to have succeeded in evading the Nazis and reaching Milan where they are being cared for by Jewish organizations. The bulk of them, however, estimated at about 2,000 are confined in a hastily erected internment camp at Grenoble, from where, it is expected, they will be shipped to Poland.
The reports add that in most cases Italian troops attempted to facilitate the Jews’ escape but special Gestapo squads accompanying the German troops were given the sole task of hunting down and arresting all Jews hiding in the mountains and forests. In some cases the cornered Jews resisted the Nazis and minor battles occurred. In the neighborhood of Grenoble, a French guerrilla force came to the aid of a group of besieged Jews and succeeded in driving off the Nazis.
Most of the Jews in the Italian zone fled there when the Germans marched into unoccupied France following the Allied invasion of North Africa.