Refugees Will Not Be Forced to Return to Native Lands; Italy Grants Them Citizenship
Menu JTA Search

Refugees Will Not Be Forced to Return to Native Lands; Italy Grants Them Citizenship

Download PDF for this date

The Italian Government has granted naturalization to a number of refugees desiring to remain in Italy, it was announced here today by Sir Herbert Emerson, director of the Intergovernmental Committee for Refugees.

The announcement was made at a press conference arranged in connection with the plenary session of the Intergovernmental Committee now taking place to discuss postwar refugee problems. Representatives of thirty-four nations are participating in the conference. “The action of the Italian Government is part of an effort now being made to have some of the refugees absorbed by the countries giving them temporary asylum,” Sir Herbert said.

“No refugee will be forced to go back to his native land against his own will,” the head of the Intergovernmental Committee continued.” He refused to answer any questions with regard to Palestine, but said that about two million refugees will have to be classified after the war as “non-repatriates.” It is unlikely that they will be mainly Jewish, he added, citing the fact that among twenty thousand refugees in Italy there are only five thousand Jews.


Sir Herbert also reported that about twelve hundred refugees in Spain and Portugal prefer to remain there rather than go to the Allied “free port” for refugees at Camp Fedhala, near Casablanca. “They want to be nearer to their native lands in order to return home as soon as their countries are liberated,” he explained.

The director of the Intergovernmental Committee emphasized that homes for 9000 Jewish refugee children from Nazi Europe are now available in the United States, Argentina, Palestine, Canada and Sweden, but the Germans refuse to issue the necessary visas. Similar difficulties are being made also by satellite countries.

The London Times, in an editorial commenting on the plenary session of the Intergovernmental Committee says that this committee is destined to perform the same functions as the Nansen Office did after the last World War. “The work of the Intergovernmental Committee will, however, not be completed until those whom it protects will be helped to find not merely homes and employment, but new citizenship and fresh hope for the future,” the editorial declares.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund