Paris (Feb. 12)
The Belgian Government has given assurances that all Jews who had a right to residence in Belgium prior to 1939 will be readmitted regardless of their nationality, it was revealed here today by Dr. Joseph Schwartz, European director of the Joint Distribution Committee, who has just returned from a tour of the Low Countries where he studied the Jewish situation and conferred with Belgian and Allied military authorities.
At least 110,000 Jews were deported from Holland to Germany and Poland, and 26,000 were deported from Belgium during the four years of German occupation, Dr. Schwartz was told. Only about ten to fifteen thousand Jews survive in Holland out of a pre-war total of 140,000, he said. Most of these are in territory still held by the Nazis.
About 20,000 Jews are in Belgium, which had a pre-war Jewish population of about 90,000. Half of these fled to France at the time of the German invasion in May, 1940. Among the 20,000 survivors are 5,000 refugees from Germany and Austria, about 1,500 from Holland and about 3,000 who have returned to Belgium from France and Switzerland since its liberation. About 17,000 Jews are in Brussels, Dr. Schwartz stated. The Antwerp Jewish community, which once numbered 50,000, has been reduced to about 1,500. There are also small Jewish communities in Liege, Namur and Charleroi.
Of the Jews presently in Belgium about 7,000 are dependent on relief, Dr. Schwartz said. In addition 2,500 children are being maintained in private homes and institutions. Relief requirements for the next three months, he declared, would total 5,500,000 Belgian francs, not including funds for reconstruction purposes.
By arrangement with the Belgian Government and the SHAEF mission, Laura Nargolis, a JDC overseas worker, will be stationed in Brussels as director of JDC activities in Belgium and Holland. She will work in close contact with the Belgian Jewish Relief Organization which has been reorganized under the chairmanship of Alfred Goldschmidt, prominent industrialist and philathropist.