Bulgarian Jews in Desperate Plight, Ben-gurion Reports; No Jewish Property Returned

The tragic situation of the Jews of Bulgaria was described here today by David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, who returned last week from a visit to Sofia. About 15,000 Jews were exterminated in Thrace by the Germans, he said, and the remaining 45,000 are depressed and impoverished.

The property belonging to Jews has not been restored to them, Mr. Ben-Gurion said, and there is little hope that it will be. Living conditions of Jews in Sofia are deplorable. Four families are crowded into one room. Barefoot, almost naked children are suffering from various diseases, mainly tuberculosis. The Zionist leader expressed doubt that these children can survive much longer. The adults are not much better off, he said. They are hungry and depressed and five years of suffering under the Nazis has left an ineradicable mark upon them.

The only hope of the Bulgarian Jews, he continued, is emigration to Palestine as soon as possible, and, therefore, the Jewish Agency must attempt to get them here under the present immigration quota. Mr. Ben-Gurion said that he had discussed the emigration problem with the Bulgarian Regent and members of the cabinet, all of whom expressed support of emigration and the establishment of a Jewish State. Discussing immediate relief measures, he revealed that the Agency has decided to send 5,000 pairs of shoes and 30,000 cakes of soap to the Bulgarian Jews, as well as medicaments contributed by the Hadassah and the Histadruth.

The Agency chairman charged that a small group of Jewish Communists have seized key positions in the Jewish institutions in Bulgaria and were restricting Hebrew and religious tuition to three hours weekly.

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