Munich (Feb. 11)
A recommendation that all Jewish refugees be released from DP camps immediately will be made by Bartley Crum, American member of the Anglo-American Inquiry Committee on Palestine, he told the JTA today.
Crum said that no matter how much conditions in these camps may be improved in the future, the Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution “will be ruined spiritually and psychologically” if they are not enabled to settle in permanent homes. He stressed, however, that no Jew must be forced to go anywhere against his wishes.
Crum made these statements at the conclusion of a three-day tour of the American zone by a sub-committee of the Anglo-American body, during which virtually 99 percent of the camp residents interviewed declared that they desired to go to Palestine. The sub-committee also saw the results of a vote organized in the camps by the UNRRA, which showed that of 19,311 refugees, 18,702 wanted to go to Palestine, 393 to the United States, 13 to Germany and the remainder elsewhere.
Sir Frederick Leggett and Crum, who comprise the sub-committee, heard testimony that 70 percent of Hitler anti-Semitism remains in Germany. This was alleged by Israel Guttman, chairman of 1,000 displaced Polish Jews living in a “camp” established on a city block in the heart of Stuttgart, who based his charge on the fact that only 30 percent of the voters in last week’s general elections in the American zone cast their ballots for the left parties such as the Socialists, Communists or Christian Socialists.
DIRECTOR SAYS IMPOSSIBLE RUN CAMP LIFE ON OTHER THAN ZIONIST LINES
Harry Lerner of Omaha, UNRRA director of the camp, told the committee that it was impossible to organize camp life along any lines other than Zionist. “We tried to organize a boys’ club,” he said, “with debating, classes, dances, but by the time the third meeting was held it was a Zionist rally.” In reply to a question by Leggett, he said that there were no outside elements influencing the DPs to think along Zionist lines. “If we wanted to give an agricultural program,” Lerner added, “it turned out to be a couple of farmers talking about Palestine. If they sang songs, they turned out to be Palestine songs. If they spoke about trees, it was about planting trees in Palestine.”
When Crum asked Guttman: “You believe there is no future for the Jews in Europe – that Hitler has won the war against the Jews?” the latter replies: “Yes. We feel, however, that if the democratic world had really wanted to deal properly with Hitler, he would not have won his war against the Jews to such an extent.” Guttman emphasized that despite their confidence in the democracies the displaced Jews feel that their only ultimate security lies in building a home of their own in Palestine. He deprecated the threat of Arab violence, stating the Arabs would not molest the Jews if they were not incited, and, if they did, the Jews could defend themselves.
Similar questions were asked and similar replies given in visits to camps at Leipheim, between Stuttgart and Munich; and Funk Kassarne, Fahrenwald and Freiman-Siedlung, all near Munich. At Fahrenwald, which holds 5,000 DPs, the committee was greeted by a silent procession carrying banners reading: “Open the Gates of Palestine.” Hundreds of persons stood silently outside the office, while the committee members held hearings. As they walked though the throng, after the hearing, Crum and Leggett were accosted by a boy of thirteen, who asked politely: “Why are we waiting here so long to go to Palestine? We cannot wait so long. It is unendurable.”
At Funk Kaserne, the committee interviewed young Jews who recently fled Poland. They denied that there was an organized underground railway out of Poland, but said that they had been helped by local committees in the cities through which they passed. They said that they had come to Germany, because they had heard that that was the best way of getting to Palestine.
(A report from Jerusalem today said that four members of the advance secretarial staff of the Anglo-American inquiry committee have arrived there, and that another economic assistant had arrived at Cairo.)