Vienna (May. 11)
All installations for Jewish DP’s in Vienna operated by the United States military authorities will close down permanently tomorrow and three hundred persons, mostly sick and infirm, who are the last group of Jewish DP’s in the city, were being moved out in a special train today to the camps in the American zone in Austria.
This move follows and order issued last month by the U.S. Army in Austria closing all American DP camps to new refugees as of April 21. The order leaves about six hundred Jewish refugees, mostly of Rumanian origin, in the sole care of the Joint Distribution Committee.
Contrary to rumors that American military authorities would not enforce the ban too strictly, the most rigid adherence to the letter of the order has been shown so far by the Army authorities. As closing of the camps coincided with a considerable improvement in the weather, the number of Jewish refugees entering Austria each week doubled in the course of the past three weeks.
Since January 1, the number of Jewish refugees entering Austria has averaged 100 per week, but in the course of the last twenty days, since the order became effective, about six hundred Jewish refugees have arrived here. The J.D.C. provides them with housing accommodations, food and medical care. One of the problems arising in connection with the closing of camps is that these 600 and all those who may follow are placed in what may turn out to be a very precarious position. Until the International Refugee Organization starts functioning, the refugees, unlike the registered DP’s, will be without any valid documents and will not enjoy the protection of any specific body.
While the exodus of Jews from Poland has substantially decreased, it is believed that about 10,000 Rumanian Jews will enter Austria in the course of the next four months. Should this estimate prove correct, the refugees will present a very serious problem to the U.S. military authorities and to the Austrian Government and Jewish relief organizations.