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American Pressure on Satellites is Helping Refugees, Pehle Says

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The American Government’s pressure on Axis satellite nations has brought about a more liberal attitude toward Jews in those countries, John W. Pehle, executive director of the War Refugee Board declared today in a nation-wide broadcast under the auspices of the United Jewish Appeal.

Speaking from Washington, Mr. Pehle cited the fact that Rumania recently permitted 40,000 Jewish refugees to return from the border region of Transnistria to Rumania proper as a specific example of the effectiveness of President Roosevelt’s repeated warnings to the satellite countries concerning the treatment of refugees. We have evidence that these warnings have injected new life and hope into thousands of downtrodden tormented people — have been ‘bolster shots’ to sinking hearts,” he said.

Replying to a question as to how the approaching military climax would affect the work of the War Refugee Board, Mr. Pehle replied: “We realize that the exigencies of war may suddenly reverse or delay some of our plans. We realize that the very nature of our problem may change. But let me assure you that we are determined to save as many lives as we can, as fast as we can. We are prepared to use this nation’s growing power and our coming victory for the humane purposes for which we fight.”

Mr. Pehle said that it was the desire of the War Refugee Board, which was created by the President on January 22, 1944, to “supplement and reinforce” the activities of the agencies of the United Jewish Appeal, and to cooperate with them” wherever it is appropriate. He urged generous response to the $32,000,000 campaign of the United Jewish Appeal, emphasizing that its constituent agencies — the Joint Distribution Committee, the United Palestine Appeal, and the National Refugee Service–“have a very distinguished record of achievement” in the rescue and reconstruction a large numbers of refugees.

Rabbi Jonah B. Wise, participating in the broadcast, paid tribute to the War Refugee Board which he declared “has revived the hopes of the homeless and oppressed throughout the world.” He stressed the fact that the needs of the agencies of the United Jewish Appeal are greater this year than ever before.

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