New York (Jun. 21)
Only about one percent of the Jews deported to Poland and Germany have survived to be repartriated and in all of Europe there are probably no more than 1,250,000 Jews, Dr. Joseph Schwartz, European director of the Joint Distribution Committee, told a press conference today. Of these about 200,000 are still in Germany, in and outside of camps.
Dr. Schwartz, who has just returned to the United States after spending eight months visiting Jewish communities in liberated Europe, confirmed previous reports that the majority of the surviving Jews do not with to return to their homelands, from wherever they are at present, and many of those who were not deported, for one reason or other, also want to emigrate.
The most pressing problem facing Jewish relief groups, the JDC official said, is what to do with the thousands of orphaned Jewish children who are scattered throughout Europe, many in camps and many in non-Jewish institutions and homes. He disclosed that arrangements have been made to bring Jewish children from camps in Germany to England, France, Switzerland and, probably, Sweden; and negotiations are going on to transfer children under non-Jewish custody to the care of Jewish groups. Dr. Schwartz expressed doubt that all of this latter group will be “reclaimed” by the Jews.
The problem of re-establishing Jews in homes and vocations where they can become self-supporting is complicated, he said, by the increased anti-Semitism which can be found in most European countries. But, Dr. Schwartz added, the picture is not all black since left-wing groups, such as Socialists, Communists and resistance organizations, have displayed a great deal of sympathy for Jews and in countries where they are or will become influential the situation will improve.
At present the JDC is operating with American personnel in 14 countries in Europe, the JDC director disclosed, and is working through local committees in several other countries. Through Rumanian Jewish groups, for instance, the JDC is aiding Jews in Rumania, Hungary and Slovakia. In addition, as a result of ruling by SHAEF, ten JDC teams will leave shortly for former concentration camps in Germany to assist the inmates and attempt to reunite them with their surviving relatives and arrange their eventual resettlement.