Vienna (Feb. 24)
Three-hundred Jews, including native-born Viennese and displaced persons, marched through the streets of this city today, demanding the opening of Palestine to Jewish immigration. Clashes with American, British and Russian military police were narrowly averted.
The demonstrators, among whom were 40 children, first massed before the Hotels Bristol and Sacher, where the members of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine are quartered, and then began a mile-long march through the streets chanting “Palestine, Palestine, Palestine” and carrying banners reading: “We Want To Go to Palestine,” “Justice For The Jewish People,” “Open The Gates,” “In The Name Of The Murdered, Remember The Living.” The crowd paused before a British officers’ club and sang Hatikvah, and then proceeded to the office of the Jewish Community Council.
This was the first demonstration in Vienna since its liberation, and the international military police were bewildered in view of the local ordinance barring demonstrations.
At the Bristol, a delegation entered, but was told that the members of the inquiry committee were not press it, having been invited to lunch with Gen. Mark Clark at the latter’s villa at Doebling, five miles outside Vienna. They then went to the Sacher, where they were told the same thing.
Half-way to the officers’ club, the procession was halted by a Russian military policeman. A DP leader, carrying a blue-and-white flag, spoke to him in Russian for about five minutes, but before they could come to any agreement, the crowd surged forward, brushing aside the MP and a companion stationed a few yards away.
American military police called for reinforcements, and five cars containing 20 soldiers rushed to the scene. By the time they arrived, however, the crowd was in front of the community office, where they again sang Hatikvah. When the song ended, an American MP shouted: “O.K., break it up,” and attempted to pull down the Zionist flag. But the DP who was holding it resisted, shouting: “Nein, Nein, We go to Palestine.” The demonstrators then dispersed quietly.
Several members of the crowd surrounded American newspapermen saying: “Why don’t you tell the world that we want to go to Palestine. We are only 4,400 Viennese Jews remaining. We want to go to Palestine. The Anglo-American committee is only speaking to a few leaders, not to us.”
COMMITTEE CONCLUDING HEARINGS IN VIENNA TODAY; WILL GO TO CAIRO
The committee will conclude its hearings here tomorrow. Several members will leave immediately for Cairo by way of Italy, while another group will leave here on Wednesday directly for Cairo.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns that Jewish and Moslem religious leaders in Palestine will be urged by the Committee to reach an agreement on the Palestine issue prior to issuance of its report.
Testimony on the situation of the Jews in Hungary and Rumania was given during the week-end by Victor Schwartz, representing the Hungarian Jewish Relief Committee in Vienna, and by Dr. Ernest Marton, Commissioner for Jewish Affairs in Rumania and member of the Rumanian delegation to the International Red Cross. The committee also questioned five Jewish “infiltrees” from Rumania and Hungary.
Reviewing the position of the surviving Jews in Hungary, Mr. Schwartz told the committee that two-fifths of them must proceed to Palestine immediately; another two-fifths are ready to wait for Palestine certificates and for visas to any other overseas country; the remaining one-fifth of the Jewish population would remain in Hungary, but also temporarily. “Sooner or later virtually all Hungarian Jews will go to Palestine,” he said.
Dr. Marton emphasized that it is absolutely necessary for all Jews to leave Eastern and Central Europe. He reported that anti-Semitism is very strong in Rumania and that half of the 330,000 Jews living there are dependent on relief from the Joint Distribution Committee which, he said, costs millions of dollars. The situation is even “more catastrophic” in Hungary, he added.
Dr. Marton’s testimony made a strong impression upon all the members of the committee. “Your report is most interesting,” Judge Hutcheson told him. “Despite being a Zionist, you have objectivity.”
Replying to this comment, Dr. Marton said: “Yes, I am a Zionist not only by opinion, but by scientific conviction. So far, you have seen only the negative and unhappy picture of Jewry, but go to Palestine and you will see the happy and productive Jews and what they have done. Then visit the neighboring Arab countries and you will see how much space and possibilities exist there. Then you will decide.”