Conditions of Displaced Jews in British Zone Reported to Be Bad; Yiddish Paper Banned
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Conditions of Displaced Jews in British Zone Reported to Be Bad; Yiddish Paper Banned

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The British officer in command of the Bergen-Belsen camp, where several thousand Jews are quartered, banned a Yiddish weekly issued by the inmates because "it was spreading undesirable Zionist propaganda," but the Jewish committee ignored the ban, it was revealed here today by Samuel S. Silverman, Labor member of Parliament, who has just returned from Belsen, where he attended the first conference of Jewish displaced persons as an observer for the World Jewish Congress.

Mr. Silverman told a press conference that, in general, British military authorities are refusing to recognize Jews as a separate group, and are treating them as Poles, Hungarians, Rumanians, etc. The Belsen commander, he said, even complained to him that the Polish Jews insist on speaking Yiddish because they want to prepare themselves for Palestine. The officer seemed astonished when told that the Jews would be speaking Hebrew, not Yiddish, were that true.

On the other hand, Silverman said, Brigadier H. Glyn Jones, senior medical officer at Belsen who has performed miracles in improving the health of the internees, has stated openly that the only way to provent destruction of the morale of the camp residents was to give them hope that they would be taken out of Europe.

The Labor M.P. reiterated previous warnings that a wave of suicides could be expected in the camps if no hope of a fruitful existence is offered the inmates. He disclosed that he had reason to believe that the demands for the appointment of a Jewish adviser on displaced persons, the establishment of separate Jewish camps and the appointment of Jewish liaison officers had been accepted in principle, but he expressed impatience that the Government has not yet acted. The Home Office, he charged, was even delaying the admission into England of a few hundred Belsen internees who have relatives here.

Mr. Silverman’s charges were confirmed by several rabbis who have recently returned from camps in the British zone. They told a mass meeting called by the Chief Rabbi’s Emergency Council that because of the fact that the Jews were not being treated as a separate group, those from Poland were given better rations than Jews from Hungary, because the latter were classified as former " enemy nationals."

The position of the German Jews who have been repatriated to the British zone, they said, was even worse, since they are being given the same rations as all other Germans, despite an order by the Twenty-First Army Group that victims of racial or political persecution are to be treated the same as displaced Allied nationals.

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