Berlin (Dec. 2)
Twenty-one hundred displaced Jews who have been waiting in Bremen for several months for passage to the United States are faced with cancellation of their U.S. visas if they do not sail shortly, it is reported here. Under existing regulations, visas lapse if not used within four months after issuance.
The reports say that there is increasing unrest among the DP’s who, with all the formalities completed for their entrance into the United States, are being held in an overcrowded camp, waiting week after week for ships that never come. The recent shipping strike in the United States and unforeseen accidents are partially responsible.
About 500 of these people were ready to sail in September when the strike was called. After that, no ships were available until Nov. 22 when the Marine Flasher was due at a German port. The Marine Flasher, disabled in mid-Atlantic, crept into port much later, requiring extensive repairs. The Ernie Pyle, scheduled to arrive at Bremen Nov. 29, was diverted to Gdynia, Poland. As matters now stand, no passage is promised before the end of December.
Meanwhile, the “processed” group waiting at the Bremen staging area has grown to 2,100 DP’s, and an additional backlog is piling up in the camps throughout Germany, including some 400 in Berlin alone. Most of those at Bremen had expected to sail in August or September and had packed their winter clothing; consequently, they are unprepared for the cold weather now upon them. The Bremen camp does not have sufficient food, according to reports, and many other necessities are lacking.
There have been threats of strikes by the DP’s and other demonstrations to call attention to their plight, but so far the group has maintained good discipline. But its members do not understand why two or three ships cannot be provided to send out those who have waited so long.