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Jews in France Launch Campaign for 50,000,000 Francs to Supplement Relief from Abroad

A thirty-day campaign to raise funds among members of the Jewish community to supplement aid from abroad for relief and rehabilitation of Jews in France was proclaimed by the first national assembly of the General Committee for the Defense of Jews which just concluded here. The organization hopes to reach a goal of 50,000,000 France.

The assembly adopted a resolution containing a strong plea for strengthened unity. The resolution points out that the defeat of anti-Semitism, the rehabilitation of Jewish victims of persecution and the reconstruction of the Jewish community can be achieved only by the closest cooperation and unity.

Reports read at the assembly by regional delegates revealed that a wide ranges of new problems has confronted the Jewish community since the liberation of France and that there is considerable variation in the attitude of the local authorities towards various Jewish problems. Legal aid, such as intervention with the authorities to secure new identity documents for Jews emerging from hiding as well as to secure repossession of Jewish homes and business enterprises has become one of the important activities of the Committee for the Defense of Jews.

While in some centers the reintegration of Jews is being facilitated by the authorities, in others the committee had to protest against the continued practice of stamping papers of Jews with the letter “J” which was used by the German occupation authorities to single out Jews.

SENATOR GODART DEMANDS IMMEDIATE RESTORATION OF PROPERTY TO JEWS

Senator Justin Godart, acting mayor of Lyon, and a well-known friend of Jews, today called for “a simple act of Justice” asking for the immediate restoration to Jews of their property seized under the Vichy regime. He accused the purchasers of the property of acting in bad faith and said that they should be made to answer charges of collaborating with the enemy for profit.

Writing in the weekly newspaper “Fraternite,” the veteran French statesman warned against “anti-Semitic lepers,” declaring that those spreading anti-Semitism, whether consciously or not, are serving the Fifth Column.

Sharp criticism of the failure of the authorities to implement promises to restore homes and property to Jews is also voiced by Pierre Stefani, editor of the Toulouse newspaper “La Republique.” The government’s failure to act, he said, protects not only those who acquired Jewish property, but all anti-Semites in France. He demands that all Vichy administrators and all persons who acquired Jewish property be interned and that profits made by the administrators who handled Jewish property be confiscated.

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