Jerusalem (Jul. 2)
The Athlit clearance camp, which has sheltered thousands of legal and “illegal” immigrants in recent years, has been converted into a huge concentration camp where hundreds of Jews arrested since the week-end are being subjected to inhuman tortures, according to reliable information obtained today.
Investigators from the “Special Squad,” have been sent to Athlit from Jerusalem to interrogate the prisoners. In order to “soften up” their victims, the investigators first beat them with a variety of weapons, make them stand for hours with large rocks tied under their arms and in some cases have struck them in the genitals. The interrogations begin when the investigators feel the prisoners have been sufficiently weakened.
Many of the detainees are reported to have been so badly battered that they will remain invalids for life. Among the most seriously wounded is Berl Repetur, Haifa labor leader and director of the Solel Boneh, the Jewish construction cooperative, who was highly praised by the British for military installations he built in Palestine and neighboring countries during the war.
RESIDENTS OF ADJOINING VILLAGES HEAR CRIES FROM CAMP
Residents of settlements adjoining Athlit report that they have heard piercing cries coming from the camp, but they are unable to render any assistance, as the camp is heavily guarded.
Another concentration camp, to accommodate the overflow from Athlit and Latrun prison, has been established at Raffa on the Palestine-Egyptian border.
The central committee of the Histadruth today appealed to the JTA office here to inform Jews abroad concerning what is transpiring at Athlit and to “wake up public opinion abroad.”
Rabbi Judah Fishman, aged Mizrachi leader, yielded to appeals from leaders of the Jewish community today and abandoned his hunger strike, which entered its fourth day this morning. Greatly weakened from lack of food and a beating administered by British soldiers on Saturday when he was arrested, Rabbi Fishman, who was moved from Latrun to Hadassah Hospital last night, is being cared for by Prof. Bernard Zondeck, world-famous physician.
The first of the prominent Jews arrested in the country-wide man-hunt which has been proceeding since Saturday was released from Athlit today. He is David Bar-Ravhai, vice-chairman of the Jewish Community Council in Haifa.
According to an official communique issued late last night, 2,718 Jews had been arrested as of that time. Of them, 59 were women. It said that four Jews had been killed and eighty wounded, and large quantities of documents and arms captured. Twenty-five settlements have been raided.
The staff of the Jewish Agency and that of the Jewish National Council conferred today, reportedly on plans for carrying out a campaign of non-cooperation unless the imprisoned Jewish leaders are released soon. Dr. Emil Schmorak and Eliahu Dobkin, Agency members who are still at large, have set up headquarters somewhere in Jerusalem and are in touch with the Agency staff.
The Haganah radio today charged that “arrest and ill-treatment of thousands of persons without evidence or trial are Nazi methods.” The radio, which broadcast on different wave lengths to hinder jamming by government stations, replied to Prime Min- ister Attlee’s statements in Commons yesterday by declaring “We are ready for the struggle and will not give up our arms.” It said that the disarming of the Haganah would involve the destruction of the Jewish community.
A special communique describing an arms cache found at Yagour, near Haifa, which has been combed by troops since Saturday, said that 200,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, 3,000 mortar bombs, 2,000 grenades and more than 500 pounds of explosives were among the material counted today during examination of an underground arms dump.
The Hashomer Hazair announced that 200 residents of its various settlements have been arrested. At the same time, it appealed to the Jews not to allow themselves to become provoked, but urged the organization of civil disobedience, strikes and demonstrations and continuation of the struggle for self-defense and the right of immigration.
It was reported today that more than 50 Jews who survived Belsen and Buchenwald concentration camps and founded “Buchenwald” village on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee have been detained in a search of their settlement by British troops.
In accordance with a decision adopted by the Jewish National Council yesterday, all workers who could be spared today went to colonies which were stripped of their manpower by arrests to insure that none would have to be abandoned.
BRITISH CHARGE “TOP SECRET” ARMY DOCUMENTS FOUND IN AGENCY’S FILES
It is understood that among the documents seized in the Jewish Agency building are the diary of Dr. Theodor Herzl and the manuscript of his “Judenstnat,” which was the first exposition of political Zionism, also films of the last Zionist Congress and communications from Zionist leaders all over the world.
Hundreds of card indices have also been seized and troops are occupying the offices of the Jewish National Fund, in the Agency building, which contains the Golden Book, in which the names of prominent benefactors of Zionism are recorded.
Security officers of British military headquarters in Jerusalem are investigating the discovery of “top secret” British Army documents in the Agency building. The documents were found during a search of the Agency’s files, they alleged.