NEW YORK (Oct. 3)
An appeal for aid was received today by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from 1,000 Yugoslav Jews, mostly aged men and women and young children, who are living under the most difficult conditions isolated in the Nazi-puppet state of Croatia, surrounded by Germans and lacking food and clothing, The group asks that they be rescued by Allied planes bringing food and medical supplies to the partisans of Marshal Tito operating in that region.
“We were a group of 2,700 Jews from Yugoslavia who saved themselves from the Ustashi terror and found refuge in a camp on the Island of Rab, held by the Italians,” the appeal says. “After the Italians capitulated, about 600 of our people succeeded in getting to the British in Bari, while the remaining 2,100 were transported to Lika and the Kordun–territories liberated by Marshal Tito. The entire youth, male and female, joined the partisans in their fight against the enemy and are still fighting heroically shoulder to shoulder with the Army of Liberation. Unfortunately, a great number of them have already met a heroic death.
“Approximately 1,000 persons, mostly aged men and women and children unfit for fighting, are settled under the most difficult conditions between Slunj and Glina, in the territory liberated by Tito, and unanimously wish to be transferred to a more secure place.
“We are living together with the peasants, often in communities burned down and looted by the enemy, in the most primitive way. We sleep on dirt floors without straw and are fed mostly on corn and beans.
“The most difficult problem, however, is that we are surrounded by the enemy. Frequently attacked by his bands, we have to escape in order not to be captured and killed.
“In such instances we are forced to flee for our lives and to hide in the forests until the enemy withdraws from his robbing expeditions. For the aged, the sick, and the young, such excursions were catastrophic because they mean physical suffering, hardship and hunger.
“During the last Ustashi robbing expedition, many of us had to flee 250 kilometers on foot, and for 16 long days had to live and sleep in rain and storms in the woods. Many among us have taken their own lives because they could no longer endure the sufferings.
“All our possessions were lost during such flight. We lack the most elementary needs, particularly suits, underwear and shoes, especially those since ours are worn cut. Literally, many of us are barefoot. Our money is gone and hunger is spreading. There is no help from anywhere. The Liberation Army is fighting under the most difficult conditions and has enough trouble without us.
“We beg you urgently to describe our desperate situation to competent authorities with the plea that suits, underwear, boots and food as well as money be sent us by airplane and that they also try to evacuate us to Bari, because 1,000 of us are threatened with extermination.
“Very close to us we see Allied planes bringing food, clothing and medical supplies for the partisans. Such planes could gradually evacuate our group on their way back. Our authorities would like to help us, but they do not possess the means. There is no other way to get cut from this place. Please help us urgently. One thousand scales await help.