Carpathian Jews in Czechoslovakia Threatened with Compulsory Return to Russian Area

Several thousand Carpathian Jews, all of whom were Czechoslovak citizens prior to the ceding of the Carpatho-Ukraine to the USSR, were threatened with forced return to Soviet territory under an order issued by the Prague Government requesting all Russian citizens in the country to register with Soviet repatriation authorities.

Although these Jews have indicated formally that they wished to retain Czechoslovak citizenship and are in possession of certificates to this effect, local police in the Sudeten area, acting under a government order, are rounding up the Carpathian Jews there and are compelling them to register at the Soviet repatriation offices. This order has alarmed the Carpathian Jews who, as holders of provisional pontificates proving that they asked Czech citizenship, had been settled by the Czech authorities in homes of Sudeten Germans who were deported from Czechoslovakia after liberation of the country.

Reports received here today from various towns reveal that in some places, such as the city of Carlsbad, Carpathian Jews were seized by local police and were not been permitted to return to their homes.

The apprehension among the Carpathian Jews is so great that many of them are being in fear of being rounded up for delivery to the Soviet repatriation authorities. It is taken for granted that registration with the repatriation authorities is prelude to repatriation to the Carpatho-Ukraine which is now Soviet territory.

Under the Czecho-Russian treaty on Carpatho-Ukraine the right to choose either-Soviet or Czechoslovak citizenship was granted to residents of that territory who claimed Czech or Slovak nationality in 1931, or who attended Czech schools. Although ninety-five percent of the Carpathian Jews then claimed Jewish nationality, they asked for Czechoslovakian citizenship and were given provisional option certificates by the each authorities.

On February 28, the right to choose Czech citizenship expired. The Prague government, therefore, issued an order this week instructing all those considered Soviet citizens to report to the Soviet repatriation officials. All reports received be point to the fact that unless the local Czech authorities in provincial towns are instructed not to molest the Carpathian Jews who chose Czechoslovak citizenship, the danger exists that these Jews will be rounded up and delivered to Soviet authorities repatriation as Soviet citizens.

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