Paris (Feb. 5)
France will punish the authors of war crimes against her nationals and those under her protection, regardless where these crimes were actually committed, Rene Cassin, chief of the juridical committee for the Presidency, told the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today.
Nazi officials responsible for atrocities or for maltreatment of French prisoners and deportees, will be sought out for punishment, just as though the crimes were committed on French soil, Cassin said. The same procedure, he added, will be followed with regard to foreigners forcibly removed from French territory to Nazi camps in Germany and Poland, since as residents of France they are deemed under French protection.
These deportees from France include fully 70,000 Jews of foreign nationality, who either immigrated to France before the war or sought refuge here after the fighting began. Cassin made it clear that France proposes to avenge the crimes against these people. The French agency for the investigation of war crimes has already indicted Nazi officials held responsible for the deportation of Spanish Republican refugees from France to Spain, and officials here have asked the United Nations War Crimes Commission for their punishment. Similar charges are expected to be preferred against those responsible for the deportation of Jews and others.
The government, however, has not yet publicly stated its policy with respect to the punishment of Nazi officials for crimes committed against Axis nationals, including Jews. Such crimes, according to the general opinion here, do not commission has asked France, as well as other participating governments, for definite instructions on this issue.
AUTHORITIES REFUSE PERMISSION TO FOREIGN JEWS TO RETURN TO FRANCE
The Central Service for Deported Jews announced today it had been authorized by the French Repatriation Mission to recruit Jews of French citizenship to Serve in the work of repatriating deported Jews. The mission is an official agency, and its representatives wear uniforms and work in close cooperation with the military authorities in the reception and care of repatriates.
French prisoners who escaped from Nazi prison camps in recent months have reported the presence of numerous French Jewish prisoners in labor camps, and it is hoped here that a number of Jewish deportees may eventually return. But there is no definite information whether any of the foreign Jews deported from France have survived. Nor has the government disclosed its policy with regard to this class of prisoners, if any do survive and try to reach their old homes here.
After four years of enemy occupation and intensive Nazi propaganda, France doesn’t feel overly friendly toward foreigners, particularly Jews. There is also a strong sentiment here that foreigners would take jobs and positions which should go to French prisoners and deportees.
So far, there are two conflicting precedents in this issue. The first is the fact that the government has given assurances that children of foreign nationality, who were formerly residents of France but were sent to Switzerland for safety, will be permitted to return. The families of many of these children were deported. and hundreds of them are now orphaned. The second precedent concerns the number of Jews of foreign nationality, who were legally domiciled here before the war and many of them with children serving in the French army, who escaped from France to North Africa at the time of this country’s collapse. Despite numerous interventions, the authorities so far have refused them permission to return.