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Assistant Secretary of War Reports Problem of Displaced Jews Has Increased in U.S. Zones

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Assistant Secretary of War Howard Peterson, who returned this week from an inspection trip in Germany and Austria, today told a press conference that the occupants of the Rothschild camp in Vienna and at Feldafing outside Munich, which he visited, unanimously expressed the wish to go to Palestine. He said there had been a very noticeable increase in the number of Jewish displaced persons from Poland since the pogroms of last July, and that they infiltrated into the American zone “because it is closer to Palestine.” The British zone has no comparable DP problem, he pointed out.

Petersen emphasized that the Army care of displaced persons does not constitute a permanent solution. “It should be thoroughly understood that it is only a temporary stopgap,” he said. “The DP problem is not only not solved, but has increased,” largely due to the heavy influx of Jews from Poland. Most of the “admittedly sub-standard” tent camps which the Army established to care for this influx will be closed before winter, according to Petersen, and their occupants transferred to billets.

He praised the Central Committee for Liberated Jews for its liaison functions with the Army, and its cognizance of the need for self-supporting projects for Jewish displaced persons. Pointing out the “psychological antipathy” of these DP’s toward working in Germany and thus contributing to a renascence of German economy, Petersen said he was encouraged by the development of work programs at Feldafing, where 1,500 of the total 4,290 population were engaged in some full-time employment.

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