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Hundreds of Jews in France Remain in Camps Because They Have No Place to Go

For hundreds of Jews in the concentration camps of Southern France liberation has brought no change of residence. They are free, yes — but they have no place to go. So they are spending the winter in the very camps where they had been imprisoned.

According to Saia Waldman, secretary of the Federation of Jewish organizations for the Toulouse region, the majority of the residents, as they may now be called, of the camps at Montauban and Masseube decided to remain in their compounds, although they are now free to leave. Their homes in Paris and elsewhere in France are gone, their furniture has been confiscated by the Germans and shipped away, their families are broken up, and there are no immediate means to provide the destitute with anything more than food and lodging, which they already receive in the camps. If they were to be returned to Paris, they would still be without homes, without tools, without work. Those who owned property would find that the processes for the return of their funds or their real estate have not yet begun to function.

Meanwhile, every effort is being made to change the atmosphere of their former concentration camps and to augment their rations. At Montauban, supplementary food rations and allowances of pocket money are being supplied to the 52 remaining residents. At Masseube, there are 150 Jews in a colony of 212, almost all of the others being Spanish; rations and funds are being supplied by the Federation to the entire 212 members of the colony, which is now self-governing.

In the entire Toulouse region 14,000 Jewish families are being aided by the Federation, whose funds are mostly supplied by Joint Distribution Committee. Branch offices are maintained in eight towns in the region. Since the liberation of the area, thousands of Jews who had been hidden in small towns and on farms during the occupation, have “come up” into the open, and their plight in almost all instances desperate.

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