New York (Dec. 18)
Several thousand Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia, seded by Czechoslovakia to the Soviet Union, are being resettled, with Czechoslovak Government aid, in the former Sudeten region, replacing Germans, Dr. Jan Papanek, director of the Czochoslovak Government information service in the United States disclosed here today.
Although, according to the agreement with the Soviet Union, only persons of Czech and Slovak nationalities in Carpatho-Ruthenia have the right to choose Czechoslovak citizenship, Carpatho-Ruthenian Jews who cross into Czechoslovakia are being given Czechoslovak citizenship, he stated at a press conference.
Dr. Papanek, who recently returned to America after a brief visit to his homeland, pointed out that Czechoslovakia is the only liberated country which has reestablished autonomous Jewish communities. There are now 60 Jewish communities in Pohemia and Moravia and 110 in Slovakia, he reported. Through the still valid pre-war less of state support for churches of all denominations, the Jewish communities receive financial subsidies for synagogues and religious schools and have the right to tax members of Jewish communities.
“Only about ten percent of the country’s pre-war Jewish population came back to Czechoslovakia from concentration camps,” he estimated. “One of the first laws of the new Czechoslovak Government was a decree abrogating all discriminatory laws established during the occupation by the Germans. The process of readjustment of the returned Jews is a slow one due to difficult economic conditions, but there is no doubt in the mind of Czechoslovak Government officials that in several months life will be normal.”
SLOVAKS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANTI-JEWISH EXCESSES WILL BE PUNISHED
Speaking of the anti-Jewish excesses in Slovakia, Dr. Papanek said that the Government is taking steps to punish persons responsible for them and to prevent other incidents. The disturbances are provoked by former German soldiers hiding in the mountains, by deserters from the Russian quisling group headed by General Vlasov and by former members of the Hlinke Guards, Dr. Papanek asserted.
Zionist activities in Czechoslovakia are welcomed and a Government delegation, consisting of Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk and Minister for Foreign Trade Hubert Ripke, last week visited a meeting of Zionist youth in Prague, the Czech press official said. The president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Bohemia and Moravia, Ernest Frischer, told Dr. Papanek that he does not expect any difficulties from abrogation of the former minority laws.
Jews in Czechoslovakia, realizing that minority laws were misused by Germans and Hungarians, will gladly declare themselves of Czech or Slovak nationality, as long as their religious and Zionist activities are protected, the Jewish leader was reported as having stated.