Berlin (Jul. 15)
Only those Jews who were sent by the Gestapo to concentration camps for political reasons are being considered by the Russian military government as “victims of Fascism,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today. This decision has affected profoundly the rehabilitation of the few thousand Jews now left in Russian-occupied Germany, because only a small number of them were persecuted for political reasons.
The Russians have ruled out any racial differences and are establishing simple straightforward rules for governing Germany. They say that if there should not be any racial disadvantages for anybody, there should not be any racial advantages. However laudable this decision may be, it overlooks the fact that no other group suffered from racial persecution like the German Jews, who, from a health and economic viewpoint, are completely ruined.
Recognition as a “victim of Fascism” entails the advantage of higher food rations and certain other advantages in connection with the allocation of apartments and public financial support. For a time some district buergermeisters in Berlin, acting on their own initiative, had accorded the rights to bigger food rations to Jews, but now an over-all ruling by the Soviet military government has put an end to any differences.
Jews are also at a disadvantage when it comes to clothing, as those returning from concentration camps who were imprisoned for “racial reasons” are not eligible for the special clothing allocation. Jewish groups, such as the Jewish Rehabilitation Home on Iranische Strasse, where Jews returning from concentration camps are given a few days-and in some cases several weeks-hospitality, do not have stocks of clothing.
FREEZING OF BANK ACCOUNTS HINDERING WORK OF JEWISH HOSPITAL
Another decision of the Russian military government, which is hindering the rehabilitation of Jewish communal enterprise, as well as other confessional institutions such as church schools, is the ruling freezing all funds held in banks.
Particularly hard hit is the Jewish Hospital, which was the only Jewish institution left intact by the Nazis, and which did not suffer much bomb damage. It is laboring under tremendous financial difficulties at a time when it is performing a most important role in the rehabilitation of Jews returning gravely ill from concentration camps.
The funds of the hospital amount to 180,000,000 marks, which figure includes properties and houses which were confiscated by the Nazis. From its bank account, which the Nazis blocked but did not confiscate, the hospital was given 5,000,000 marks in June, 1943. When the Russians captured Berlin and blocked all accounts, the hospital’s account was frozen along with the others and, so far, all attempts to secure the money have been unsuccessful. In some ways, of course, the importance of the Jewish Hospital has been reduced, since Jews can now seek treatment in any of Berlia’s hospitals under the same conditions as any other German.
Surveying the entire situation, however, observers point out that however disadvantageous the Russian policy is at present, when Jews need greater care than most other groups, in the long run it is designed to erase the thought, now deeply rooted in the German mind, that Jews are something different.