Prague (May. 21)
About 4,000 Jews remain confined in the Theresienstedt ghetto because of the typhus epidemic raging in the camp, according to internees arriving from there today. They say that there are sufficient doctors among the former prisoners to cope with the disease, but supplies of alcohol and typhus serum are desperately needed. So far, no help has arrived from outside.
It is estimated by these internees that 32,000 persons died in Theresienstadt between the time it was established in 1941 and March of this year. Their names will probably never be known, because the Germans destroyed all lists and files before abandoning the ghetto about a week before the Russians arrived. Even exact lists of survivors are not available, because about 5,000 scattered throughout the countryside after the Nazisdeparted. The camp is still being administered under the leadership of Dr. Alfred Meissner, former Czechoslovak Minister of Justice, who was one of the internees.
The arrivals from Theresienstadt told a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent that although the majority of the parcels sent into the camp by Jewish groups were seized by the Nazis, the little the Germans allowed them was of great help. Cigarettes, for instance, were never given to the ghetto residents, although many arrived in the parcels.
The former internees described to the correspondent how the German camp administrators fooled Swiss Red Cross delegates into believing that Theresienstadt was a "model" camp. On the day before the Red Cross representatives were to arrive, everything in public view had to be sorubbed with hot water so that the camp appeared to be spick and span, even though in most houses all sorts of vermin plagued the residents.
In a "model" dining room, internees were forced to sit at a table leaded with food from 8 a.m. until the Swiss delegates arrived to inspect it, but were not allowed to touch the food. Often, rations of food and clothing were distributed the day before the arrival of the Red Cross workers, with strict orders that they were not to be used, but were to be shown to the delegates. After the Swiss left, the things were taken back. The internees were even drilled in what to say if questioned.