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Germans Do Not Dare Show Overt Anti-semitism in Soviet Zone, JTA Correspondent Finds

“Here in the Soviet zone anti-Semitism remains below the surface, because should it become overt the Germans know punishment will come swiftly and be harsh, Gunther Singer, secretary of the Erfurt Jewish Community, told a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent who spoke to him during a tour of the Russian-occupied zone of Germany.

Singer declared that even the German government in the Russian zone is taking the lead of the Soviet occupation authorities and treats any type of discrimination as a serious crime. He cited the case of a Jewish woman who was turned out of a German store when she attempted to purchase various rationed items. The woman reported the case to the Jewish Community which brought it to the attention of the local authorities and the semi-official Victims of Fascism Committee. The next day the merchant’s license was revoked for a week and he was fined 950.

Singer, a veteran of three years in concentration camps, where he lost his entire family, told of having seen the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem strutting through the Oswiecim camp on two different occasions. The Mufti, escorted by the S.S. commandant, jeered at the Jewish prisoners, he asserted.

Max Cars, chairman of the Erfurt Jewish Community, disclosed that there are only 150 Jews now living in the town. Only 16 of them are of the original population of 800, the remainder having arrived from Breslau and other territory annexed by Poland, he stated. Of the 150, 50 are over the age of 50 and there are 20 children under 16 years old. The children all attend the Hebrew school in the community headquarters where there is also a fair-sized, neatly furnished synagogue.

Both Cars and Singer corroborated other reports that Jews were being well treated by Soviet officials and that many Jewish properties had been returned to their former owners.

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