Menu JTA Search

Efforts to Get Aid for Vienna Refugees Rebuffed by Austrian Govt., U.S. Army, Unrra

Frantic efforts by the J.D.C. to secure assistance for the 2,400 Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe who are living here in unsuitable ?uarters without adequate clothing and food have so far been unsuccessful, because of the lack of cooperation by the authorities concerned.

The J.D.C. informed the Austrian Government, the U.S. military authorities, UNRRA and the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees concerning the plight of the refugees, the bulk of whom arrived from Rumania in recent weeks, and pointed out that the conditions under which they are compelled to live constitute a serious menace not only to the health of the refugees, but to the community as a whole.

The Austrian Government replied that it was unable to provide better accommodations for the refugees. The U.S. Army authorities declared that they could not be of assistance because of the War Department order barring from Army aid all refugees arriving in Austria after April 21. UNRRA and the Intergovernmental Committee replied that they had to refer the matter to their world headquarters.

When the Army announced its new policy toward the refugees on April 21, the J.D.C. was asked to assume responsibility for the welfare of new arrivals. The J.D.C. declared then that the task was beyond the capacity of any private organization with limited means. It agreed, however, to supplement food, clothing and medical services for the refugees until competent international welfare agencies were in a position to take over. The J.D.C. representatives who have carried on this work entirely unaided, barring a little assistance from UNRRA, point out that Washington had instructed military authorities to give the maximum possible aid. In the absence of any such cooperation, the situation has become so critical that the J.D.C. has informed the various agencies concerned that it can no longer assume responsibility for the position of the refugees.

NEXT STORY