Frankfurt (Jul. 8)
The ragged remnants of Frankfurt’s once flourishing, prosperous Jewish community have, up to now, fared worse under the American occupation than many Germans who discarded their Nazi party badges the day the city was taken.
Those who have struggled home from concentration camps in the past two months returned ill and penniless, and, sometimes, on the verge of starvation. But they were bolstered by the hope that they would soon regain their homes, their possessions and their positions in the community. Their hopes have not been realized, a survey by a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent discloses.
The Jews have discovered that no machinery has been set up for restitution of their property, and many are living in squalor while Germans occupy their former homes.
Frankfurt’s pre-Hitler Jewish population exceeded 30,000, and was the second largest in Germany. Only 600 are in the city today. Of these, 140 escaped deportation to concentration camps and managed to remain here. The others are survivors from concentration camps who returned home in recent weeks on foot, or in pitiful truck caravans. More than 7,000 Frankfurt Jews were sent to Theresienstadt, and 326 who have returned from there report that the others were murdered.
MILITARY GOVERNMENT SAYS JEWS WILL BE TREATED LIKE OTHER GERMANS
Dr. Albert Adelsberger, a former professor of economies at Heidelberg University, who remained in Frankfurt all during the Nazi regime, now heads the Jewish community. He told this correspondent of his vain efforts to obtain help for those released from concentration camps. Because many of the refugees are suffering from malnutrition and lack essential clothing he attempted to secure extra supplies from the Frankfurt military government. The executive officer, he asserted, told him that Jews would be treated just like other Germans.
Dr. Adelsberger said that he then called the officer’s attention to a statement by Maj. Gen. G.A. Ulio, Adjutant General of the War Department, who said that “the Supreme Commander’s policy is to consider stateless persons, or persons who have been persecuted because of their race or religion or activities in favor of the United Nations, in the same category as United Nations nationals.”
Military government officials admit that they are powerless to obtain restitution of Jewish property. There is no specific military government regulation stipulating that confiscated Jewish property shall be returned to its owners, nor does there presently exist any machinery by which Jews can institute legal proceedings for return of their property. This must wait upon a decision of the Allied Group Control Council. All the military government can do at present is to list claims.
Asked how Frankfurt Germans treated returning Jews, Dr. Adelsberger said sardonically: “Now, they are all friends of the Jews. Just as you have doubtlessly found that none were Nazis.”