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10,000 Jews in Lyon and Vicinity Are Destitute; Relief Groups Merge

Jewish relief officials here today estimated that about 20,000 Jewish families are residing in Lyon and the vicinity. Most of these have come here since the liberation of southern France, en route to their homes in Paris and elsewhere in the liberated northern part of the country. About 10,000 of them are virtually destitute and require assistance.

In the five weeks since Lyon was liberated the number of families receiving assistance from the General Committee for the Defense of Jews has increased from the 600 who were aided during the underground period to 2,000. In addition, the Committee for Assistance to Refugees, which operated independently under the aegis of the Consistory, gave aid in September to 1,200 families, but it is likely that there is considerable duplication in the lists.

The Consistory officials declare that of Lyon’s pre-war Jewish population of 4,000 French Jews and 3,000 Moroccan Jewish workers, plus their families, only one-fourth survived the Nazi terror. At least 300 Jews were executed in Lyon and the immediate vicinity and hundreds were deported to unknown destinations. The deportations continued up to as late as August 11, and included old men and women over 75.

An agreement was reached yesterday between the GCDJ and the CAR under which all relief activities will be combined and both groups will function in the same office. This will not only centralize relief work, but will eliminate duplication of and facilitate relations with the French authorities, the Red Cross and the National Relief Agency.

A new enlarged commission has been appointed to prepare a program for handling the problem of Jewish children, including the recovery of children who were farmed out in the countryside, convents and orphanages to save them from the Gestapo, maintenance of the children, their education, medical care and location of missing parents. At present, there are about 200 children being cared for by the GCDJ whose parents were either killed, deported or disappeared, or whose fathers are prisoners of war.

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